Vox Media, home of websites SB Nation, The Verge, Eater and Vox.com, has been about size. Today it bought influence, adding Re/code, the tech news site founded by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, in an all stock deal, the terms of which were not disclosed.
Re/code is small by traditional publishing metrics. It's 1.5 million monthly unique visitors won't significantly move the needle for Vox, which boasts 53.2 million, according to comScore. "Everybody is bigger than us," Swisher told the New York Times.
But Re/code is arguably the most influential blog covering the tech industry. Its signature event, the Code Conference (which started Tuesday), has a long waiting list for attendees at $6,500 a pop. The waiting list for speaking slots is even longer: Bill Gates and Steve Jobs memorably appeared onstage together when the publication was called AllThingsD; Elon Musk was a speaker in 2013. Re/code's impact beyond tech is reflected in this years' speakers, which include CBS chief Les Moonves and General Motors CEO Mary Barra.
The deal is the latest move for Re/code, which started within Dow Jones as AllThingsD. When their contracts expired, Mossberg and Swisher launched Re/code with investment from NBC Universal, bringing most of their employees with them. Yet for all its influence as a publication, readership remains low, which made it tough to operate as an independent company. "It's not a secret that being a smaller fish is really hard," Swisher said.
This transaction links Re/code with a vibrant portfolio of Web-only publications and an underlying Web publishing technology called Chorus, which Re/code will use. "We want to assure you that this combination is designed to bolster and enrich Re/code, and that we will continue to publish under the same name and leadership, with editorial independence," Swisher and Mossberg said, in a statement.
While Vox publication The Verge started out as a more traditional tech blog, it has since moved on to cover culture through a tech lens. Re/code, by contrast, prides itself on obsessive and knowing coverage of business, lifting the veil on companies like Yahoo, Google, Twitter and Facebook. Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff told the New York Times the company's own research showed only 3 percent overlap between the two in readership.
Vox Media has raised $107.6 million in seven rounds since 2008, according to Crunchbase. Its latest $46.5 million infusion came in December and was led by General Atlantic.