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Verizon and Hearst to Acquire Complex Media—and Its Young Male Audience

Verizon signage and logo on its building at 375 pearl streetVerizon signage and logo on its building at 375 pearl street
Verizon signage and logo on its building at 375 pearl street, New York city.Photograph by Roberto Machado Noa—LightRocket via Getty Images

Verizon’s media acquisition spree isn’t over yet. Last year, the telecommunications company bought AOL. This year, it has been rumored as the best suited company to land Yahoo. But in the meantime, the carrier, along with media giant Hearst, are close to buying Complex Media, an online media company whose audience is mostly young men and that focuses largely on pop culture and entertainment news, the companies announced on Monday.

Citing anonymous sources, the Wall Street Journal reports that the deal values Complex at between $250 million and $300 million. A Verizon (VZ) spokeswoman declined to comment on terms of the deal.

The two companies will split ownership equally, and Complex co-founder and CEO Rich Antoniello will continue to lead the company, which was founded in 2002 by designer Marc Ecko. Complex covers topics like entertainment news, sneakers and hip-hop culture, sports, and technology. Sometimes its magazine features racy covers like a recent one of celebrity Khloe Kardashian.

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Complex, which has been mostly focused on video in the last two years, says it now reaches more than 50 million unique monthly visitors and 300 million monthly views. The company says it has been profitable since 2010.

Last year, Hearst poured $21 million into Complex independent of Verizon. In March, Hearst and Verizon formed Verizon Hearst Media Partners to build online video channels targeting millennials. It recently also invested in AwesomenessTV, with each company getting a 24.5% stake, and DreamWorks Animation owning the rest.