The new owner of Gawker and Mic just acquired a $21 million independent publication that was supposed to reinvent digital media

Bustle Digital GroupBryan Goldberg, CEO and founder of Bustle Digital Group, just bought The Outline.
  • Bustle Digital Group, which recently bought Gawker and Mic, has acquired the indie tech publication The Outline, the companies announced Wednesday.
  • The Outline was founded in 2016 as an alternative media outlet, eventually raising $US10 million in venture capital, most recently at a $US21 million valuation.
  • But the Outline has struggled and laid off all of its staff writers last fall.

Bustle Digital Group, the the acquisitive media company run by founder and CEO Bryan Goldberg, has bought indie publication The Outline just six months after the company laid off all of its staff writers, the companies announced Wednesday.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Outline raised a total of $US10 million in venture capital, most recently at a $US21 million valuation, according to PitchBook.

Bustle Digital Group, which itself has raised more than $US80 million in venture capital, has bought up several high profile media assets as of late, including Gawker.com, which it bought for $US1.35 million last summer. The group also acquired Mic for $US5 million in November.

The Outline was founded in 2016 by Josh Topolsky, a well-known editor and tech reporter, as a “a new kind of publication founded by journalists and storytellers.”

Despite its flashy advertising designs and sometimes-viral articles, the company struggled to endure a media ecosystem in which ad dollars once slated for publications now go directly to Google and Facebook.

“The hard thing for Josh is that the scale hasn’t been there,”Goldberg told Recode. “It got to the point where he doesn’t have the scale behind it, and we do.”

Topolsky, as well as all 11 of The Outline’s current employees, will stay with the company under its new ownership, according to the press release.

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