IPO — Bustle Digital Group CEO Confirms Company’s Plan to Go Public

By Jemima McEvoy | Wednesday, 20 January 2021 | Startup, Tech

Bustle Digital Group (BDG) has plans to go public by the end of this year, according to CEO Bryan Goldberg. Though media companies continue to feel the pressure of an ever-changing digital landscape — with many forced to shutter or cut staff — Goldberg told TechCrunch in a recent interview that his company would be profitable in 2020. With this momentum and Goldberg’s ambition to turn the tides for the BDG media empire, here’s what to expect this year.

Silhouette of people working in an office.

What Is Bustle Digital Group?

Bustle Digital Group came to be after Goldberg’s idea to create Bustle, a woman’s magazine, in 2013. The founder had previously created the sports website Bleacher Report with a single million-dollar investment. He eventually sold that startup to Turner Broadcasting in a $200 million deal.

The New York-based media company has since grown to encompass a litany of well-known titles, including Bustle, Inverse, Input, Mic, and more. BDG has roughly 300 employees and has raised a total of $80.5 million to date, according to Crunchbase. Key investors include Time Warner Investments, General Catalyst, Saban Capital Group, GGB Capital, and RRE Ventures.

The State of Bustle Digital Group

The company has suffered from the same pressures of the tricky media landscape that’s knocked most of the industry. It was forced to close a newly launched tech-focused publication, The Outline, and lay off some of its staff members over the past few years.

However, BDG has also been focused on opportunities for expansion and growth. The company has acquired multiple publications since 2019, including Nylon, Inverse, and W Magazine. The company has also redesigned the Bustle website. Goldberg told TechCrunch that 2020 will be a profitable year for the company, bringing in revenue that’s “a little under $100 million.”

“I want to be highly profitable,” said the founder and CEO, noting that the coronavirus pandemic has actually had a positive impact on media and digital advertising: “People are watching less television, and so advertisers are moving their budgets into digital faster than they would have had it not been for COVID.”

A Hopeful Future?

The plan now is to make the most of that momentum. Earlier this month, Reuters reported that Bustle Digital is exploring a potential merger with blank-check acquisition companies that could take it public. Goldberg, in an interview with TechCrunch, said that going public is indeed his plan.

“Where do I see my company in three years? I want to see three things: I want to be public, I want to see us driving a lot of profits and I want it to be a lot bigger,” said Goldberg. The goal is to acquire a lot of media companies in profitable spaces, he explained. Historically, Bustle’s business model has been to purchase and invigorate struggling brands.

According to Reuters, the company aims for a business valuation of at least $600 million, including debt.

Final Takeaways

Bustle Digital Group’s next few years will be interesting to watch as they may reveal a new business model of how to survive in the increasingly cut-throat US media-scape.

About the Author

Headshot for author Jemima McEvoy

Jemima is a journalist who enjoys reporting on business, particularly small business and entrepreneurship.

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