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Media/Telecom

For Digital Media Giants, Pairing Up Is Hard to Do

It’s been roughly a year since BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti publicly floated the idea that his company along with the other richly funded media outfits should merge so they could demand more money from tech companies like Facebook. So far, none of the big deals that Peretti suggested have come to pass—but not for lack of trying. 

Behind the scenes, investors in companies like BuzzFeed, Group9, Vox, Vice and Refinery29 have been pushing their companies to make some sort of deal happen. Over the past 12 months, talks have taken place for various rollups and combinations—the most recent of which has been Vice’s interest in buying Refinery29, as The Wall Street Journal first reported. But to date, none of these companies have announced any deals. One possible complication could be the terms attached to shares held by some investors guarantee them outsized returns, say people familiar with the situation.