The Lease-to-Own Acquisition Strategy


Today, Vox Media announced (officially!) that NBCUniversal is investing two hundred million dollars in the company, at, according to Peter Kafka, “a pre-money valuation of $850 million…which is another way of saying Vox Media is now worth more than $1 billion.” Congratulations to everyone at Vox! The path to being fully acquired by Comcast is now laid bare.

NBCUniversal is a division of Comcast, which has been one of Vox Media’s most prolific institutional investors. Comcast has invested in Vox multiple funding rounds through various iterations of its venture capital arm: in 2009 (Series B), 2010 (Series C), and 2013 (Series D). Additionally, in May, Vox Media acquired Recode, Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg’s tech news and events startup, in an all-stock transaction; NBCUniversal News Group had made “strategic investment and partnership” in Recode’s parent company, Revere Digital, a year earlier.

At the time of Recode’s acquisition, we had heard that Comcast Ventures was keen to sell Vox Media to Comcast proper. NBCUniversal’s new investment and partnership with Vox makes for a fairly smooth transition from strategic investment to outright acquisition, as Peter Kafka explains:

Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff — again, my boss — says that in addition to the NBCUniversal investment, the two companies now have a commercial partnership. That means, among other things, that they will collaborate on digital advertising, will work together on video advertising and video programming, and that you will likely see Vox Media employees more frequently on NBCU-owned networks like CNBC. (Re/code already had and continues to have a news partnership with CNBC).

Hurray for everyone, but especially Jim Bankoff.

Giph via Reddit