Time Warner Inc's Turner Networks has agreed to acquire a stake in U.S. digital publisher Refinery29 in a $45 million funding round with other investors to expand its audience of millennial women, the companies said on Thursday. Turner, which led the round that included Scripps Networks Interactive, declined to disclose the size of its investment in the women's beauty, fashion and lifestyle website.
Refinery29, founded in 2005 as a fashion-focused guide to New York City, attracts more than 27 million unique visitors a month. The company has opened offices in London and Berlin as part of a global expansion. The funding, which includes an investment from Scripps Networks Interactive Inc., values Refinery29 at more than $450 million, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the terms are private. Founded 11 years ago in New York, Refinery29 has raised $125 million from investors including Hearst Corp., WPP Plc and Lerer Ventures, according to Co-Chief Executive Officer Philippe von Borries.
"We look at Refinery29 as one of the strongest brands reaching the millennial," David Levy, president of Turner said in an interview. "They have a distinct voice." Turner sees the partnership as a way to boost advertising sales and create content that appeals to millennial women, Levy said.
Refinery29 said in a joint statement it would use the investment to expand its video production business. Refinery29 creates articles and videos in categories such as fashion, beauty and health. It reaches 27 million monthly unique visitors on its website and about 225 million people across social platforms like Facebook and Snapchat, according to the company. The startup could create original programming that airs on Turner’s networks, Levy said.
Christina Miller, president and general manager of Turner's Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Boomerang, will join Refinery29's board of directors, the companies said.
Turner, which owns cable networks CNN, TBS and the Cartoon Network, has made a similar investment in digital publisher Mashable and expanded its sports news site Bleacher Report to extend its digital reach.