Vice strengthens content and live experience with Refinery29 acquisition

Refinery29: currently in Berlin, London, Los Angeles and Toronto (Getty Images)
Refinery29: currently in Berlin, London, Los Angeles and Toronto (Getty Images)

Deal grows Vice's global audience by 17%.

Vice Media has acquired female lifestyle and entertainment publisher Refinery29 for an undisclosed sum.

The addition of Refinery29 to Vice's business will strengthen its digital publishing as well as its experiential, ecommerce and creative agency divisions.

Refinery29 will remain a standalone brand, producing content on subjects such as fashion, beauty, money and lifestyle, as well as live experiences such as 29Rooms, and TV projects. The purchase will bolster Vice's own live experience business. Earlier this year, Vice set up a new division headed by Ben Hack, former managing partner for live experience at Sunshine, however he left to join Apple in August.

The deal was signed yesterday (2 October) by Vice chief executive Nancy Dubuc and Refinery29 co-chief executives Justin Stefano and Philippe von Borries. Stefano and von Borries will report to Dubuc.

Vice, which generates 50% of revenues from outside the US, said it would scale Refinery29's content and operations internationally. The deal will also grow Vice's global audience reach by 17% to 350 million unique visitors.

Refinery29 was founded in 2005 and has offices in London, Los Angeles, Toronto and Berlin. The acquisition will give Refinery29 a presence in 30 of Vice's global offices.

Dubuc said: "This is an expansive moment for independent media. Vice Media Group and Refinery29, two of the strongest independent voices in the industry, will continue to build a scaled global and diversified media company.

"We will not allow a rapidly consolidating media ecosystem to constrict young people’s choices or their ability to freely express themselves about the things they care about most. At Vice and Refinery29, the megaphone is theirs to use and the platforms are theirs to build with us."

The transaction is expected to close before the end of the year, subject to regulatory approval.

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