Verizon and Hearst Enter Agreement to Acquire Complex

Posted on April 18, 2016

Zayn Malik covers Complex magazine

Verizon and Hearst announced today that they have entered into an agreement to jointly acquire Complex with a 50/50 ownership structure. Complex is a pop culture entertainment company founded by Marc Ecko in 2002. Complex co-founder and CEO Rich Antoniello will remain CEO of the company after the deal is closed.

Verizon senior vice president of consumer product and marketing Brian Angiolet says in the announcement, "The decision to acquire Complex is certainly a continuation of our media strategy, which is focused on disruption that is occurring in digital media and content distribution, and involves building a portfolio of the emerging digital brands of the future for the millennial and Gen-Z audience. When we look at Complex and how well they've built audiences by championing the digital convergence of cultures for well over a decade, it pairs well with our strategic vision and current shifts in content consumption."

Singer Zayn Malik covers the most recent cover of Complex magazine. Complex has been building its video brand over the past couple years. The company says it has adopted a "video-first approach." This has become a strategy for many online publishers of late. Complex says it is one of the top ten U.S. publishers when it comes to social interaction and engagement on channels like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Marc Ecko is Chief Brand Officer of the company. Ecko says in a statement, "The numbers validate what we've always known: This complex generation of creators wanted a voice that looks, sounds, and thinks like them and defies being pigeonholed by demographic labels. For more than a decade, we've been catalyzing and shaping this movement of convergence culture, exposing young people to the musicians, artists, and writers that influence the present and inspiring them to create their own future. The platform we've built is as much ours as it is theirs."

Verizon and Hearst did not disclose the acquisition price. A Wall Street Journal story puts the deal price at $250 to $300 million. Fortune says Verizon and Yahoo are after Complex Media's large audience of young males.

Photo: Complex

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