In an undisclosed deal, business news site Quartz has been sold to G/O Media, the publisher of Gizmodo, AV Club, Jezebel, The Root, Deadspin, and several other media brands.
It comes at a time of disruption for Quartz, with the publisher earlier this month dropping its four-year-old member paywall and refocusing on its suite of member emails. The move came after Quartz’s own internal data showed that three-quarters of members preferred its newsletters, which had become its biggest platform for traffic.
Quartz’s expertise in newsletters fits well with G/O Media – the owner of websites that once belonged to Gawker Media – as well as Quartz’s respected global business journalism, which has the potential to lure subscribers and valuable advertisers to G/O Media. Jim Spanfeller, the chief executive of G/O Media, told the New York Times that his company is “focused on buying websites that broaden G/O’s editorial focus and expand into new categories, and at the top of that list is business journalism.”
Zach Seward, co-founder and CEO of Quartz, will stay on at the company as Quartz’s editor-in-chief and general manager. In a letter to employees, he wrote that the deal would see no layoffs, and “all current employees of Quartz who do come along will be eligible for deal bonuses from the proceeds of the sale, totaling more than $1 million”.
Everyone at Quartz is coming along for this next chapter. There are no layoffs connected to the sale, nor planned once we integrate. That’s not what this is. G/O is profitable, growing, and eager to welcome all of us across the company.Zach Seward, co-founder and CEO, Quartz
Seward also added that “while each newsroom at G/O operates separately, we plan to integrate with every other department, from advertising to product to operations, over the next few months to form one media company.”
Consolidation is a current theme within digital publishing – several companies have teamed up to pool their audiences and diversify their businesses including Vox Media & Group Nine Media, BuzzFeed & Complex Networks, and Vice Media & Refinery29. Indeed, investor sentiment has cooled on digital media brands, with investors demanding profits after years of focusing on scaling up revenue and audiences. It is envisaged that the integration of Quartz with G/O Media will result in a media brand “with more than 100 million monthly readers”.