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Refinery29 Has a New Owner

Creative directors aren’t the only ones currently stuck in a game of musical chairs: Media companies are also being subjected to rounds of sales and acquisitions. The latest media shakeup comes courtesy of Essence‘s parent company, Sundial Media Group, which just bought Refinery29 from Vice Media

Axios broke the news on Thursday, but didn’t share any financial details about the agreement. Vice Media bought Refinery29 for $400 million in 2019, as part of an effort to diversify its audience to better reach profit goals. However, in 2023, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, closed a $350 million sale to its lenders and agreed to sell off its assets; this year, it stopped publishing on its flagship website and laid off hundreds of employees. 

“This is the end of a chapter for Vice. We have shifted to a studio model — producing and providing best-in-class content to distributors around the world,” a Vice spokesperson told Axios. 

New owner Sundial Media Group also has venture capital firm Essence Ventures, which runs Essence magazine and Beautycon, in its portfolio. Refinery29 is expected to run as an independent brand, with longtime Vice Media executive Cory Haik as CEO. 

This buyout could be a beacon of hope for both the outlet and the greater media industry, after a tumultuous few years plagued by layoffs and shuttered titles. 

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