Verizon, Hearst to buy digital media company Complex

Verizon 4G networkVerizon, which has emerged as the top bidder for digital media company Yahoo, will acquire Complex in a 50:50 ownership structure with Hearst.

Rich Antoniello, CEO and co-founder of Complex, will continue to lead the company. Complex is one of the fastest growing networks of sites focused on American popular culture — from entertainment news, sneakers and hip hop music to food, fashion, sports and technology — geared at the millennial male.

Complex will develop video content for distribution across Verizon digital platforms, including go90, and more.

“The decision to acquire Complex is certainly a continuation of our media strategy, which is focused on disruption that is occurring in digital media and content distribution, and involves building a portfolio of the emerging digital brands of the future for the millennial and Gen-Z audience,” said Brian Angiolet, Verizon’s senior vice president of consumer product and marketing.

Verizon and Hearst recently made investments in AwesomenessTV (each owns 24.5 percent with DreamWorks Animation owning the rest).

In addition, Verizon and Hearst formed a 50:50 joint venture to build new multiplatform digital video channels targeting the mobile millennial audience. Verizon Hearst Media Partners will launch two channels: for millennials, and Seriously.TV, for viewers who want digital video comedic news updates.

Complex has over 50 million unique monthly visitors and is seeing consumption spike to 300 million monthly views — a 415 percent percent growth year over year.

In transitioning from print to the video-first digital powerhouse it is today, Complex has become one of the top 10 publishers in the U.S. when it comes to social interaction and engagement on channels like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Verizon Communications, which generated nearly $132 billion in 2015 revenues, has more than 112 million retail connections in the U.S.

Verizon earlier acquired as well. Recent media reports say Verizon is the front runner for the troubled digital media company Yahoo. Internet search engine giant Google and cable service provider Comcast are out of the race for buying Yahoo.