Media mergers news: Tracker on all latest news media M&A

Media Deals Tracker: Latest on M&A and other deals in news and media sector

Media M&A trends

Welcome to Press Gazettes deals homepage, where we plan to track all the latest and most significant news about media mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and other deals in the news and media sector.

Please email us at pged@pressgazette.co.uk with deal tips or announcements to appear in our coverage.

This page is presented in association with GlobalData which tracks all major M&A activity as part of its suite of business intelligence products.

Refresh this page for regular updates.

15 September 2021

DMGT completes sale of RMS

By Charlotte Tobitt 

DMGT has completed the sale of its insurance risk business RMS to Moody’s Corporation for around £1.425m in cash.

The sale satisfies another of the pre-conditions for DMGT owner Lord Rothermere to potentially take the Mail, Metro and i owner private, following on from the listing of Cazoo Group Ltd last month.

Discussions around DMGT’s three pension schemes in relation to their funding arrangements continue as the remaining pre-condition of Lord Rothermere’s proposal.

Source: Press release

Deal size: £1.425m

Country: UK

Status: Official

15 September 2021

SmartNews raises $230 million at a $2 billion valuation

By Charlotte Tobitt

Japanese news discovery app SmartNews has raised $230m in Series F round funding at a $2bn valuation, according to Axios. This means the company’s value has essentially doubled in just over two years and takes its total capital raised to more than $400m.

Source: Axios

Deal size: $230m

Country: US

Status: Official

14 September 2021

Fox Corp buys TMZ

By Charlotte Tobitt

Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Entertainment has bought showbiz brand TMZ from WarnerMedia.

Fox said the deal gave it “the opportunity to further market and monetize the TMZ brand across its station group; ad-supported streamer, Tubi; and other Fox-owned platforms”.

Harvey Levin, who founded TMZ in 2005, will continue to oversee day-to-day operations as managing editor and report to Rob Wade, Fox Entertainment’s president of alternative entertainment and specials.

Levin said: “We couldn’t be more charged. Fox Entertainment is opening up a world of opportunities for TMZ to grow our current platforms and expand in every which way.”

Source: Press release

Deal size: Undisclosed

Country: US

Status: Official

10 September 2021

GlobalData buys life sciences arm of IHS Markit

By William Turvill

Data and information company GlobalData has acquired the life sciences business of IHS Markit. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. It is expected to complete before the end of 2021.

Mike Danson, the chief executive of GlobalData who also owns Press Gazette publisher New Statesman Media Group, said: “The Life Sciences acquisition represents a strategic bolt-on to our already strong pharmaceuticals data, insights and analytics services.

“The addition of drug pricing data, as well as other critical Life Sciences data and analysis, further confirms our industry leading breadth and depth in the pharmaceuticals space.”

Source: Press release

Deal size: Undisclosed

Country: UK

Status: Official

7 September 2021

Vox Media buys podcast industry title

By William Turvill

Vox Media has bought Hot Pod, a news outlet for the podcast industry, reports Variety.

Hot Pod will become the first paid subscription product of the Verge, Vox’s technology site, according to the report.

The deal comes shortly after Vox media acquired Punch, a drinks and cocktail culture website, from Penguin Random House (see report below from 23 August).

Vox Media, which also publishes Vox, New York Magazine and Vulture, is one of a number of digital media companies currently considering plans to go public by merging with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

Source: Variety

Deal size: Undisclosed

Country: US

Status: Official

3 September 2021

Roar B2B buys Environment Media Group

By Dominic Ponsford

UK-based events and media group Roar B2B has announced acquisition of Environment Media Group Ltd (EMG).

EMG publishes Letsrecyle.com as well as magazines and newsletters. It also provides design services and hosts events and awards.

Roar is an events company focused around business technology, social care and environment.

Source: Roar  B2B

Deal size: £5m (reported)

Country: UK

Status: Confirmed

31 August 2021

Vice raises $85m but SPAC talks end

By William Turvill

Vice Media has raised $85m from its existing investors after its talks to go public ended, according to a report by the Information.

Vice was expected to enter the public market this year through a merger with 7GC & Co, a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC). But, according to the Information, this deal is no longer on the cards.

The Information also today reports that Vice’s co-founder and chairman, Shane Smith, has agreed to give up his voting control of the company as part of its new fundraising agreement.

Source: The Information

Deal size: $85m

Country: US

Status: Report

26 August 2021

Dylan Howard buys Knewz from News Corporation

By William Turvill

Empire Media Group, the new business of controversial media executive Dylan Howard, has announced the acquisition of Knewz from News Corporation.

Rupert Murdoch’s media giant launched Knewz, an aggregation site, as a potential rival to Google News in January 2020. It gave up on the venture in July this year.

Confirming reports from earlier this month, EMG today said it has acquired and relaunched the Knewz brand.

EMG, led by former America Media Inc boss Howard,  has completed several digital acquisitions this year. In addition to Knewz, it publishes RadarOnline.com, OKmagazine.com and Front Page Detectives.

Source: Press release

Deal size: Unknown

Country: US

Status: Official

26 August 2021

Forbes to go public through $630m SPAC deal

By William Turvill

Forbes Media is to go public in a deal valuing the business news publisher at $630m.

Forbes plans to merge with Magnum Opus Acquisition Limited, a special-purpose acquisition company, in the fourth quarter of this year or in the first quarter of 2022.

Forbes’ current majority shareholder, Integrated Whale Media Investments, was reported to be in talks to sell the business to GSV Asset Management earlier this year.

Source: Press release

Deal size: $630m

Country: US/ Hong Kong

Status: Official

26 August 2021

Axel Springer buys Politico

By William Turvill

German publishing giant Axel Springer has announced the acquisition of Politico.

The deal size was not disclosed, but CNBC reported that it is worth around $1bn, citing sources.

It emerged earlier this month (see below) that Axel Springer was in talks to buy Politico.

The publisher, which also owns Insider and Morning Brew in the US, was reported to be in talks to acquire Axios earlier in the summer. According to CNBC, this deal is no longer on the cards.

As part of its takeover, Axel Springer will also be buying tech news website Protocol and the remaining 50% of Politico Europe, which it launched in 2014 as a joint venture with Politico.

Robert Allbritton, the founder of Politico and Protocol, will continue as publisher of the brands after the sale completes.

Source: Press release

Deal size: Reportedly around $1bn

Country: Germany/ US

Status: Official

23 August 2021

Phillips Media Group buys Baxter Bulletin from Gannett

By Dominic Ponsford

Baxter Bulletin in the US has been bought by Phillips Media Group, some 26 years after it was bought by US local news giant Gannett.

Rupert E Phillips is a former publisher of the Baxter Bulletin, described as a local “paper of record”. He has previously bought New York Spanish language newspaper El Diario from Gannett.

Source: Baxter Bulletin

Deal size: Unknown

Country: US

Status: Official

23 August 2021

Vox Media buys Punch

By William Turvill

Vox Media has announced the acquisition of Punch, a drinks and cocktail culture website, from Penguin Random House. The deal will see Punch added to Vox Media’s Eater portfolio of food and drink brands.

Vox Media is the publisher of sites including Vox, New York Magazine, the Verge, Vulture and Recode. It is one of a number of digital media companies currently reported to be considering plans to go public through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

Source: Press release

Deal size: Unknown

Country: US

Status: Official

20 August 2021

Nexstar buys the Hill for $130m

By William Turvill

Nexstar Media, a US local TV giant, has bought political news website the Hill for $130m.

The Hill attracted an average 48m monthly users and 2.2bn page views in 2020, according to Comscore. Led by chairman Jimmy Finkelstein, the website employs more than 100 journalists. According to Axios’ sources, the Hill generated revenues of $40m last year and made a profit of $10m.

Prior to the Nexstar deal, HRS Management was the Hill’s largest investor.

Axios previously reported on talks between Nexstar and the Hill (see below on this page).

Source: Press release

Deal size: $130m

Country: US

Status: Official

17 August 2021

Forbes in talks to go public through SPAC deal

By William Turvill

Forbes Media is in talks to merge with a Magnum Opus, a Hong Kong-based special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC), according to Bloomberg. The deal would reportedly value the business news publisher at more than $650m.

Hong Kong’s Integrated Whale Media Investments, Forbes’ owner since 2014, was previously reported to be in talks to sell the business to GSV Asset Management.

Source: Bloomberg

Deal size: $650m

Country: Hong Kong/US

Status: Rumour

16 August 2021

Axel Springer in talks to buy Politico

By William Turvill

German publishing giant Axel Springer is in talks to buy Politico, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The WSJ reports that the talks, which could fall through, may end in Axel Springer buying an ownership stake in Politico or taking full control of the company.

Axel Springer, which owns US publisher Insider, is already a partner of Politico. Together, they operate Politico Europe as a joint venture.

Earlier this year, Axel Springer was reported to be in talks to buy Axios.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Deal size: Unknown

Country: Germany/US

Status: Rumour

16 August 2021

Future buys Dennis for £300m 

By Charlotte Tobitt

Future has bought Dennis Publishing for £300m from Exponent, the private equity firm that bought it in 2018.

The titles included in the deal are: The Week UK / The Week US, The Week Junior UK / The Week Junior US, MoneyWeek, Kiplinger, Science & Nature, IT Pro, Computer Active, PC Pro, Minecraft World, and Coach.

Viz, Fortean Times, Cyclist and Expert Reviews have not been bought by Future and will be retained by Broadleaf Group, the holding company of Autovia and formerly Dennis following Exponent’s separation of the businesses.

Source: Future

Deal size: £300m

Country: UK

Status: Official

12 August 2021

Reddit valued at $10bn in latest funding round

By William Turvill

Message board website Reddit has been valued at $10bn in its latest investment round. The company just raised $410m, adding to $250m of investment it received earlier this year. The New York Times reports more details in its interview with CEO Steve Huffman.

Source: New York Times

Deal size: $410m

Country: US

Status: Announced

10 August 2021

WarnerMedia in talks to sell TMZ to Fox

By William Turvill

WarnerMedia, a division of AT&T, is in talks to sell celebrity news business TMZ to Fox, according to the Information. The reported talks come after AT&T agreed to merge WarnerMedia with Discovery, a deal that is expected to complete next year.

Source: The Information

Deal size: Unknown

Country: US

Status: Rumour

10 August 2021

Integral Ad Science buys Publica

By William Turvill

Integral Ad Science, an advertising verification company, has bought Publica, a connected TV ad platform, for $220m.

Source: Press release

Deal size: $220m

Country: US

Status: Announced

10 August 2021

DMGT extends deadline on possible £810m privatisation

By Charlotte Tobitt

Mail, Metro and i publisher DMGT has secured a deadline extension on owner Lord Rothermere’s possible bid to de-list his media properties.

DMGT has reached agreement of the terms of the sale and sold its insurance risk business RMS in preparation but still needs to meet other pre-conditions including the completion of its sale of online car retailer Cazoo.

Lord Rothermere must now announce either his firm intention to take the titles private or that he does not plan to make an offer by 30 September. The original deadline was 9 August.

Source: DMGT

Deal size: £810m

Country: UK

Status: Official

6 August 2021

DMGT sells insurance risk business RMS to Moody’s 

By Charlotte Tobitt

Mail, Metro and i publisher DMGT has sold its insurance risk business RMS to Moody’s Corporation.

DMGT had owned RMS since 1998 but is divesting business investments as it paves the way for controlling shareholder Lord Rothermere to take the company private in a deal worth £810m.

DMGT chief executive Paul Zwillenberg said: “The sale of RMS marks another major milestone in DMGT’s transformation. It is the culmination of our strategy of investment in businesses combined with active portfolio management.

“Organic investment in RMS’s software, data, data analytics, models and applications has created substantial shareholder value, particularly over the last few years as the team has delivered the accelerated product development programme.”

Source: DMGT

Deal size: £1.425m in cash

Country: UK

Status: Official

3 August 2021

iCrossing buys Mediablaze

By Charlotte Tobitt

Hearst Magazines-owned global marketing agency iCrossing has acquired Mediablaze, a London-based digital experience and content marketing agency. It had already taken a minority stake in the business in 2016.

Mediablaze will join iCrossing’s UK office and together they will offer clients full-service marketing solutions.

Hearst Magazines president Debi Chirichella said: “With the digital acceleration brands have seen over the past year, there is a growing demand for complete marketing solutions that can offer engaging and impactful digital experiences and this investment positions us to deliver industry-leading solutions for our clients.”

Mediablaze chief executive Paul Button added: “The joining of our businesses will combine Mediablaze’s digital experience capability with iCrossing UK’s powerful media and customer insights, creating a best-in-class agency solution that will help clients transform and accelerate their digital business.”

Source: Press release

Deal size: Undisclosed

Country: UK

Status: Official

2 August 2021

News Corp agrees $1.15bn deal for Oil Price Information Service

By William Turvill

Publishing giant News Corp has announced a $1.15bn deal to buy the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) from S&P Global and IHS Markit.

Source: Press release

Deal size: $1.15bn

Country: US

Status: Announced

2 August 2021

Responsible Investor publisher bought by PEI

By Charlotte Tobitt

Responsible Investor publisher Response Global Media, which also organises ESG events and runs the Responsible Company membership programme, has been bought by information and events provider PEI.

All staff at the independent publishing company, launched in 2007 by co-founders and joint managing directors Hugh Wheelan and Tony Hay, are being kept on following the deal.

PEI chief executive Tim McLoughlin said: “In RGM we see huge potential to build on the growth of strongly established, high-quality subscription brands and to increase our presence in a key growth area of the market.”

Source: Responsible Investor

Deal size: Undisclosed

Country: UK

Status: Official

29 July 2021

Substack buys public debate platform

By William Turvill

Newsletter platform Substack has acquired Letter, a startup website for public debate, Digiday reports.

Source: Digiday

Deal size: Undisclosed

Country: US

Status: Official

28 July 2021

Swiss partner buys out Axel Springer in Central/ Eastern Europe

By William Turvill

Swiss publisher Ringier is buying out the assets of its partner, Axel Springer, in Hungary, Serbia, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Ringier and Axel Springer have operated a joint venture in Central and Eastern Europe – Ringier Axel Springer Media – since July 2010.

This deal breaks up much of that joint venture, although the companies will retain their partnership in Poland.

Axel Springer’s news division will now focus on its three key markets – Germany (where it owns titles including Bild and Welt), the US (where it owns Insider) and Poland.

Source: Press release

Deal size: Undisclosed

Country: Germany/Switzerland

Status: Announced

26 July 2021

Recurrent buys Futurism

By William Turvill

Fresh from acquiring MEL Magazine (see below), Recurrent Ventures has today announced a deal to buy Futurism from Singularity University.

Founded in 2014, Futurism has grown from Reddit page into a well-known media brand that covers AI, rocket launches, sustainability and genetics. Futurism was previously acquired by Singularity University, a tech company backed by Google and Deloitte, in 2019.

Recurrent is a venture capital-backed digital media company that owns brands including Popular Science, Domino, Outdoor Life, The Drive and Field & Stream.

Source: Press release

Deal size: Undisclosed

Country: US

Status: Announced

23 July 2021

Taboola buys Connexity for $800m

By William Turvill

Taboola, a marketing company that promotes content and advertising on news websites, has announced the acquisition of Connexity, an e-commerce platform. The deal, which comes after Taboola went public through a SPAC deal in June, is worth $800m.

Source: Press release

Deal size: $800m

Country: US

Status: Announced

22 July 2021

Former CBS boss launches SPAC

By William Turvill

Joe Ianniello, a former chief executive of CBS, has launched a new special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC). He told the Wall Street Journal that he hopes to raise at least $300m for his venture, Argus, and pursue a merger. Given his background, it would seem likely that Ianniello will target the media sector – a lively SPAC market currently (scroll down for updates on deals involving Buzzfeed, Vice and BDG) – but the Journal said he could look to the telecoms and technology sectors for deals.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Deal size: $300m

Country: US

Status: Announced

22 July 2021

Royal Media makes two acquisitions in two weeks

By William Turvill

Royal Media, a B2B and business information company, has announced two takeovers in quick succession. The company – which has brands in the air freight, financial services, and vehicle finance sectors – bought market intelligence firm Connectivity Business on 20 July. On 14 July, it bought the Foster Report, which covers the oil, electricity, and natural gas markets, from Concentric Energy Publications. In both cases, the sellers were represented by Grimes, McGovern & Associates.

Source: Grimes, McGovern & Associates

Deal sizes: Undisclosed

Country: US

Status: Announced

21 July 2021

BDG Media makes $150m acquisition ahead of SPAC deal

By William Turvill

Digital media company BDG Media, which publishes titles including Bustle and Input, is buying Some Spider Studios for around $150m, the Wall Street Journal reports. BDG is one of a number of digital media firms expected to go public this year by merging with a special-purpose acquisition company (scroll down for details on similar deals involving Buzzfeed and Vice). Some Spider Studios operates parenting websites Scary Mommy, Fatherly and the Dad.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Deal size: $150m

Country: US

Status: Announced

21 July 2021

Video ad tech company Audigent secures $19m venture financing

By Dominic Ponsford

Predictive Pop Inc (doing business as Audigent), a provider of an audience intelligence platform that improves video ad targeting across mobile, social, and over-the-top (OTT) digital television (TV) channels, has secured $19.1m in Series B funding from the Go Philly Fund. In addition, Broadscale Group, Raised in Space, MathCapital, Riverpark Ventures and others also participated in the funding round. Audigent brings the total funding to $33.6 million.

Source: GlobalData

Deal size: $19.1m

Country: US

Status: Announced

20 July 2021

Cannabis marketing company MediaJel in merger

By Dominic Ponsford

MediaJel Inc, a provider of advertising and marketing solutions for the cannabis industry, has merged with Foottraffik, a provider of advertising and marketing solutions.

Source: GlobalData

Deal size: Unknown

Country: US

Status: Confirmed

20 July 2021

Adtech company Adelaide secure $2m venture funding

By Dominic Ponsford

Adelaide, an online advertisement technology firm, has secured $2m in venture funding from a crew of angel investors. Adelaide says its mission is to “quantify the true quality of media through the lens of attention, so marketers can invest more confidently and create incentives in the market for high-quality media”.

Source: GlobalData

Deal size: $2m

Country: US

Status: Confirmed

20 July 2021

Vice Media’s SPAC talks stall amid valuation questions

By William Turvill

Vice Media’s plans to go public through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) have stalled, according to The Information. The report states that Vice is struggling to raise enough financing for the deal amid questions about its valuation. The Information reports that Vice was expected to be valued at around $2.5bn (a large reduction on the $5.7bn valuation it earned in 2017) but that this now appears ambitious.

Source: The Information

Deal size: $2.5bn?

Country: US

Status: Rumour

16 July 2021

WordPress and Tumblr owner buys Pocket Casts

By William Turvill

Automattic, the owner of WordPress and Tumblr, today announced the acquisition of Pocket Casts. The podcast company was previously owned by a group of public broadcasters in the US, including NPR and BBC Studios America. Current reported that Pocket Casts had been put up for sale in January.

Source: Press release

Deal size: Undisclosed

Country: US

Status: Confirmed

16 July 2021

Virtual venue company Fly Machine secures $21m venture funding

By Dominic Ponsford

Flymachine, a US-based new virtual venue for live entertainment which delivers a first-of-its-kind immersive social experience, has secured $21 million in venture funding, led by Greycroft Partners and SignalFire, with additional participation from Primary Venture Partners, Contour Venture Partners, Red Sea Ventures, and Silicon Valley Bank. Angel investors joining the round include Coran Capshaw, Bill Silva, Marty Diamond, Larry Webman, Ben Lovett, John Battelle, and LionTree Partners.

Source: GlobalData

Deal size: $21m

Country: US

Status: Confirmed

16 July 2021

Saudi Research & Media Group buys 51% of podcast platform Thmanyah

By Dominic Ponsford

SMRG owns more than 30 media outlets iuncluding Arab News. Saudi-based Thmanyah operates throughout the wider region.

Source: Flashes and Flames

Deal size: Unknown

Country: Saudi Arabia

Status: Reported

16 July 2021

JD Power buys Superior Integrated Solutions

By Dominic Ponsford

US-based JD Power is a supplier of data, analytics and software to care dealers. Superior Integrated Solutions provides finance and insurance sales software to 7,700 car dealer.

Source: Press release

Deal size: Unknown

Country: USA

Status: Confirmed

14 July 2021

Outside buys three new brands to enhance subscription offering

By William Turvill

Outside Media, a growing outdoor pursuits publisher, has announced the acquisition of three new brands – Pinkbike, CyclingTips and Trailforks. Outside has made a number of acquisitions in recent years and is aiming to become a digital subscription powerhouse. Press Gazette interviewed Outside CEO Robin Thurston last month – read more here.

Source: Press release

Deal size: Unknown

Country: US

Status: Confirmed

13 July 2021

Privacy-focused Facebook rival in talks to raise new funds

By William Turvill

MeWe, a privacy-focused social media startup that wants to challenge Facebook, is in talks to raise new funds, Axios today reports. The subscription-based platform is hoping to raise between $10-30m this year, founder Mark Weinstein tells Axios. It is said to be in talks with strategic investors currently, including venture capital and private equity groups.

Source: Axios

Deal size: $10-30m

Country: US

Status: Confirmed

12 July 2021

Lord Rothermere could take DMGT private

By Charlotte Tobitt

The owner of the Daily Mail, Metro and i titles could go private as Lord Rothermere considers a bid to de-list his media properties. The deal would be worth £810m.

Find out more here.

Source: DMGT

Deal size: £810m

Country: UK

Status: Confirmed

9 July 2021

AgriBriefing £150m sale mooted

By Dominic Ponsford

UK-based publisher of Farmers Guardian AgriBriefing is reported to be in the advanced stages of a sale. Flashes and Flames reports that New York-based Ares Management Corp is looking to sell the business it bought for £100m in 2019. Euromoney has signalled its interest in agriculture and has been mooted as one likely buyer.

In February this year AgriBriefing bought Tallage SAS a France-based provider of grain, oilseeds, darum wheat, biofuels and barley intelligence.

“AgriBriefing was formed in 2012 with a mission to provide information, news, market data, pricing benchmarks and networks across the global agribusiness supply chain. These markets are often opaque and fragmented but are becoming ever more international and interconnected. There is an ever-increasing need for information and data to help market participants operate more efficiently.”

Source: Flashes and Flames

Deal size: $150m

Country: UK

Status: Rumour

9 July 2021

Nielsen buys adtech company TVTY

By Dominic Ponsford

Media audience analytics company Neilsen Holdings has acquired France-based advertising technology company TVTY.

TVTY offers customers technology which enables them to optimise their advertising spend on TV campaigns.

Nielsen said the deal will help marketers to better plan and optimise their marketing spend. TVTY says its technology helps advertisers optimise their TV ad sepnd based on business outcomes.

Source: GlobalData

Deal size: Undisclosed

Country: US/France

Status: Confirmed

7 July 2021

Psychedelic media company gets high response to funding round

By Dominic Ponsford

Canada-based Microdose Psychedelic Insights has closed a seven-figure over-subscribed round of seed funding.

The company provides news, financial analysis and events aimed to “drive the psychedelics industry into the forefront of modern medicine”.

It has received funding from Origin Therapeutics, Negev Capital and The Conscious Fund. As part of the transaction, Charlie Finnie, CEO of Origin Therapeutics joins as a board member.

Source: GlobalData

Deal size: $1m+

Country: Canada

Status: Confirmed

7 July 2021

Recurrent Ventures buys MEL Magazine from Dollar Shave Club

By William Turvill

Recurrent Ventures has announced the acquisition of men’s lifestyle title MEL Magazine from the Dollar Shave Club. The deal will revive MEL, which halted publication earlier this year when its financial relationship with Dollar Shave Club was ended. Recurrent is a venture capital-backed digital media company that owns brands including Popular Science, Domino, Outdoor Life, The Drive and Field & Stream.

Source: Press release

Deal size: Unknown

Country: US

Status: Confirmed

 2 July 2021

Ladbible considers stock market listing

By Charlotte Tobitt

Youth publisher Ladbible is reportedly considering either a stock market listing or a partial sale.

Sky News reported it has appointed Zeus Capital to help it look at its strategic options but a decision may not be made for months yet.

Source: Sky News

Deal size: £350-400m

Country: UK

Status: Rumour

 28 June 2021

Group Rossel and DPG Media buy RTL Belgium

By Dominic Ponsford

Belgium-based Groupe Rossel and DPG Media has agreed to buy TV and radio business RTL Belgium from Euros 250m ($300m).

DPG said: “The new shareholders will additionally focus on accelerating the digital transformation of RTL Belgium’s radio and television channels. Long-form and short-form online video are fast-growing segments that offer numerous opportunities for television companies. The development of digital radio and podcasting present similar opportunities for radio.”

JP Morgan acted as adviser to RTL Group on the deal.

Source: GlobalData

Deal size: Euros 250m ($300m)

Country: Belgium

Status: Confirmed

 30 June 2021

Taboola goes public

By Dominic Ponsford

Content recommendation platform Taboola goes public today with a listing on the Nasdaq exchange in the US under the ticket TBLA.

The company was valued at $2.6bn following its merger with ION, a special acquisition company.

Source: Press release

Deal size: $2.6bn

Country: US

Status: Complete

 25 June 2021

Pageant Media pays ‘$20m’ for Hedge Fund Alert

By Dominic Ponsford

US-based Green Street has sold online news website Hedge Fund Alert to UK-based Pageant Media.

The US site has been running for 20 years aiming to give an early take on deals and intelligence in the world of hedge funds in the US. Pageant already runs HFM and Eurekahedge.

Hedge Fund Alert is the fourth acquisition to be completed since Intermediate Capital Group bought a majority stake in Pageant Media in February 2020.

Pageant employs 350 staff and has turnover of around £30m a year.

Deal size: $20m (estimate from Flashes and Flames)

Country: UK acquirer, US target

Status: Confirmed

Source: press release.

24 June 2021

US streaming giants named as candidates to buy Channel 4 from UK government

By William Turvill

The UK government this week confirmed plans to hold a consultation on whether to privatise broadcaster Channel 4. The Times, citing an interview with media minister John Whittingdale, reports that US streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon could be candidates. Foreign ownership of Channel 4 would be controversial in the UK, but Whittingdale did not rule the streaming giants out as potential buyers.

Source: The Times

Deal size: Unknown

Country: UK

Status: Rumour

23 June 2021

Buzzfeed could announce long-anticipated deal to go public this week

By William Turvill

Buzzfeed appears to be on the verge of confirming its long-anticipated plans to go public. The Wall Street Journal today reports that CEO Jonah Peretti could announce Buzzfeed’s merger with 890 5th Avenue Partners, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), as soon as this week.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Deal size: Unknown

Country: US

Status: Rumour

22 June 2021

The Hill is seeking a buyer and has been in talks with Nexstar

By William Turvill

US political news website the Hill is looking for a buyer, according to Axios. Owner Jimmy Finkelstein has reportedly ramped up his efforts to sell the outlet. Axios reports that the Hill has recently been in talks with broadcasting giant Nexstar Media Group.

Source: Axios

Deal size: Unknown

Country: US

Status: Rumour

22 June 2021

Podcast tech company WaitWhat raises $12m

By Dominic Ponsford

WaitWhat has closed a funding round which has seen it raise $12m to invest in its content production and research efforts to break new ground in digital formats. Podcasts such as “Masters of Scale” and “Meditative Story” have been downloaded more than 70m times. It plans to look into new creative ways to create audio and video content which includes content around fitness and parenting.

Source: TechCrunch

Deal size: $12m

Country: US

Status: Confirmed

 

 

18 June 2021

Meltwater buys Owler for $24.5m

By Dominic Ponsford

High tech press cuttings and media analytics company Meltwater has bought crow-sourcing business information company Owler for $24.5m.

Owler claims to be the second largest business community in the world and says it has 5m business people contributing to its 14m company profiles.

Meltwater CEO John Box said: “Combining this proprietary information from Owler with the insights that Meltwater is able to extract from online news and social media will differentiate Meltwater’s product in the market and bring great value to our 27,000 customers globally.”

Source: Press release

Deal size: $24.5m

Country: US

Status: Confirmed

18 June 2021

UK government could privatise Channel 4 next year

By William Turvill

The UK government is lining up Channel 4 for privatisation and could sell it off as soon as next year, reports the Financial Times.

Source: Financial Times

Deal size: Unknown

Country: UK

Status: Rumour

18 June 2021

Response Global Media ‘sold’ to PEI Media for £12m

By Dominic Ponsford

Response Global Media publishes Responsible Investor and says of itself: “Our aim is to lead strategic, sustainable change in financial markets through thought-leadership, proprietary journalism, events and community building amongst business professionals.”

Responsible Investor describes itself as a newswire dedicated to responsible investment, ESG and sustainable finance with a global subscriber base.

PEI Media publishes Private Equity International and was itself acquired by asset management group Bridgepoint for £120m three years ago, Flashes and Flames reports.

Source: Flashes and Flames

Deal size: £12m

Country: UK

Status: Rumour

17 June 2021

New York Times and Athletic end acquisition talks

By William Turvill

The New York Times has ended talks to buy subscription sports news website the Athletic, according to the Information. The two parties reportedly could not agree on a fair price.

Source: The Information

Deal size: N/A

Country: US

Status: Rumour

15 June 2021

Spotify agrees $60m deal for ‘Call Her Daddy’ podcast

By William Turvill

Spotify has agreed to deal so that it can exclusively host Alex Cooper’s ‘Call Her Daddy’ podcast. Variety reports that the three-year deal is worth more than $60m.

Source: Press release/ Variety

Deal size: $60m

Country: US

Status: Official

15 June 2021

Mark Allen Group buys 13 B2B titles from RELX

By Dominic Ponsford

Mark Allen Group has purchased 13 titles from Elsevier Ltd, part of RELX Group.

This deal comprises four magazines – Metal Powder Report, Reinforced Plastics, World Pumps and Filtration & Separation – and nine newsletters: Additives for Polymers, Biometric Technology Today, Computer Fraud and Security, Filtration Industry Analyst, Fuel Cells Bulletin, Membrane Technology, Network Security, Pump Industry Analyst and Sealing Technology.

Chairman Mark Allen said: “During the past 15 months since lockdown our company has weathered the pandemic storm exceptionally well. The 2020-21 financial year, which we will be reporting in the autumn, will be a record year. It is now time for us to make sure we move forward again. This Elsevier portfolio, with a combination of institutional and corporate subscriptions, as well as advertising, offers us an excellent opportunity to provide these publications with the additional care and attention that we can provide.”

Mark Allen Group publishes more than 100 magazines and also runs awards and events in 12 different sectors. In 2019/20 it reported EBIDTA of £8.4m on turnover of £54.6m

In February 2020 Mark Allen Group completed the purchase of Farmers’ Weekly from Elsevier.

In 2019 MAG bought 12 B2B transport magazines from UKI Media and Events, as well as the 163-year-old The Engineer magazine and its associated event Subcon from Centaur Media.

Deal size: Undisclosed

Country: UK

Status: Announced

Reuters/Brendan McDermid

10 June 2021

Buzzfeed to raise $200m in bonds ahead of SPAC deal

By William Turvill

Buzzfeed is rumoured to be planning a public listing by merging with 890 Fifth Avenue Partners, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). The Information reports that Buzzfeed is in talks to raise $200 in convertible bonds to add to cash it will raise through the SPAC deal. This $200m will be used to fund a planned acquisition of digital lifestyle publisher Complex Networks, according to the Information.

Source: The Information

Deal size: $200m

Country: US

Status: Rumour

10 June 2021

Sinclair raising $250m for sports streaming push

By William Turvill

Sinclair Broadcast Group is seeking to raise $250m to fund a new sports streaming venture, the New York Post reports. Investment bank LionTree is said to be working on the fundraiser for Sinclair.

Source: New York Post

Deal size: $250m

Country: US

Status: Rumour

Image8 June 2021

Sports Illustrated publisher Maven raises $20m and buys the Spun

By Dominic Ponsford

Sports Illustrated publisher Maven has raised $20m and bought athletics news website the Spun.

Source: Press release

Deal size: $20m

Country: US

Status: Confirmed

8 June 2021

Morning Consult raises $60m in new funding

By William Turvill

Morning Consult, a polling, data and research firm, has raised $60m in series B funding. The deal values the company at more than $1bn, according to Axios.

Source: Axios

Deal size: $60m

Country: US

Status: Confirmed

Image6 June 2021

The Week magazine put up for sale by Dennis Publishing

By William Turvill

News and current affairs magazine The Week has been put up for sale by Dennis Publishing, according to Sky News. Dennis, owned by Exponent Private Equity, has reportedly hired bankers from LionTree Advisors to handle the sale process.

Source: Sky News

Deal size: Unknown

Country: UK

Status: Rumour

3 June 2021

Blackstone buys PC World publisher IDG

By William Turvill

Blackstone, a US private equity giant, has agreed to buy tech media company International Data Group (IDG) for $1.3bn from Oriental Rainbow, a subsidiary of China Oceanwide Holdings Group. IDG is the publisher of brands including PC World and Mac World.

Source: Press release

Deal size: $1.3bn

Country: US

Status: Confirmed

3 June 2021

Press Gazette publishes first Media Deals Tracker monthly round-up for May 2021

By William Turvill

For our first Media Deals Tracker, we compiled details of 30 completed, agreed or rumoured deals through May 2021.

1 June 2021

UK government explores sale of Channel 4

By William Turvill

The UK government is considering a sale of Channel 4, the Times reports.

Source: The Times

Deal value: Unknown

Country: UK

Status: Rumour