Group Nine Media Raises $50 Million from Discovery, Axel Springer

The move could signal acquisitions to come

Logos from Group Nine, The Dodo, Now This, Seeker, Thrillist, and Brandshop
The digital publisher of Thrillist and The Dodo, among others, just got a major cash infusion. Group Nine Media

Group Nine Media just raised $50 million from lead investor Discovery Inc. and partner Axel Springer SE, the company announced Monday.

The digital media holding company also hinted that acquisitions may be on the horizon with the new increase in funds.

Discovery initially invested $100 million in the publisher, which specializes in video content, back in December 2016 when it was created. Now, the brand includes verticals NowThis (news), The Dodo (animals), Thrillist (food, travel) and Seeker (tech).

Axel Springer SE also has already invested in the company, having given a joint $40 million along with Lerer Hippeau in November 2017.

Without providing specific figures, Group Nine painted a big growth story the brands, including that the company has doubled revenue since it was formed, with arms that extend into advertising, distribution and licensing.

“This strong vote of confidence from our investors underscores the fact that we have the right model for a next generation diversified media company and we’re incredibly well-positioned to lean in—even while others are stepping back,” said Ben Lerer, CEO of Group Nine, in a statement.

Axel Springer SE, which has control of media and tech brands including Business Insider and Politico Europe, will have a minority stake. Discovery will also have a minority stake as the lead investor.

The new funds will be used to grow the company’s commerce division and for “potential strategic acquisitions,” according to Group Nine. The company had been rumored to be in discussions earlier this year to join forces with PopSugar and BuzzFeed.

“We’re firm believers in strong talent, powerful brands and premium content, so we’re proud to continue to partner with Group Nine, a company that shares these priorities, as they continue to execute and outpace the market,” said Jan Bayer, president of News Media International at Axel Springer SE, in a statement.

@SaraJerde Sara Jerde is publishing editor at Adweek, where she covers traditional and digital publishers’ business models. She also oversees political coverage ahead of the 2020 election.