Vox Media has just purchased Curbed.com L.L.C., a company with three sites focused on real estate, dining and retail. The purchase went for $20-$30 million.
Vox Media is an internet conglomerate with three brands as subsidiaries, including tech site The Verge. It has just completed its purchase of Curbed.com L.L.C., which runs three news sites aimed at real estate, dining and retailing.
Vox is based in Washington and contains The Verge, gaming site Polygon and SBNation, a collection of around 300 sports sites aimed at reporting and analysis. Digital audience measurement by Quantcast estimates that Vox’s domestic traffic from the United States is some 41 million unique hits per month.
Curbed L.L.C. is getting good traffic too, with its three sites garnering some 5.1 million domestic hits per month. The company has been expanding rapidly, providing local coverage in several cities. The titular Curbed.com offers real-estate content, and the two other sites, Eater and Racked, cover dining and retail respectively.
Vox’s CEO, Jim Bankoff, said in a phone interview with the New York Times that the time was right for expansion and that Curbed.com fit their business model: “Both Vox and Curbed value storytelling and as a result have attracted the otherwise hard to reach young, affluent, social consumers,” explained Bankoff. “We think this combined expanded platform will clearly attract premium advertisers.”
Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff
While Vox has been growing rapidly over the past year, their profitability is still in question. Earlier this year, Bankoff was at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York, where he stated: “We’ll be a profitable company this year. […] We expect to be very profitable in the near future.” Whether the purchase is an indication that they are turning a profit now, or are looking for more ways to get there, remains to be seen.
Both companies are privately held and didn’t disclose the purchase price; however, a source with inside information stated that the deal went down for somewhere between $20 to $30 million, in a combination of stocks and cash. This comes just after Vox acquired $34 million in investment capital. Vox Media is one of only a handful of companies making big investments in digital media companies (another notable example being BuzzFeed); most of silicon valley seams weary of such purchases.
With the acquizition of Curbed.com L.L.C., Vox will have 140 people on their writing and photography staff. Curbed.com founder Lockhart Steel, will be staying on with the company and work out of Vox’s offices in New York.