Financially Strapped Digital News Site Mic Looks for a Buyer as Layoffs Loom

Sources say it could sell to Bustle Digital Group

The looming cancellation of Mic's Facebook Watch program could lead to editorial layoffs as soon as tomorrow.
Mic

Digital news publisher and suddenly-strapped-for-cash Mic is in sales talks, according to sources familiar with the matter who speculated that Bustle Digital Group (BDG) or its founder, Bryan Goldberg, might end up buying it.

Mic was founded in 2011 and has largely targeted millennials, covering issues ranging from politics to social issues. Rumors swirled in the fall that the publisher was mulling at least one acquisition offer.

However, sources told Adweek the looming cancellation of its Facebook Watch program, Mic Dispatch, has made the financial situation at the New York-based company dire and could result in mass editorial layoffs as soon as Thursday. Publisher Cory Haik’s personal belongings were not at her desk today.

“We are not inclined to comment on this. We have not purchased Mic,” said a spokeswoman for Bustle Digital Group. Mic executives and a spokesperson for the organization did not return multiple requests for comment.

The site and its assets, including its own CMS, could potentially be sold off for parts in what would amount to a sad, media flash sale.

Mic, along with many other digital publishers, like LittleThings, made big investments and relied heavily on social media platforms for distribution. Mic’s Facebook Watch show, which sources said could have potentially been worth millions over the long term, only launched in July.

A spokeswoman for Facebook declined to comment.

Mic.com has seen a steep decline in traffic. In October 2015, the site had about 18 million unique monthly visitors, according to comScore figures, in the first year the company offered data. That has rapidly decreased to 5.5 million this October, the most recent month for which data is available.

Goldberg has made several acquisitions recently, including Gawker, which is expected to relaunch in 2019. BDG has also acquired Flavorpill Media Inc., The Zoe Report and Elite Daily.

Recode was the first to report on Mic’s potential sale.

Adweek technology reporter Kelsey Sutton, a former Mic reporter, contributed to this report.