Vinyl Group announced on Thursday a binding agreement to acquire The Brag Media, publisher of Australian and New Zealand editions of Rolling Stone and Variety, as well as publisher of its own tiles including TheBrag. com, Tone Deaf and industry news outlet The Music Network.
The proposed takeover of Brag Media, pending certain conditions and expected to close by Jan. 31, is being funded by an $11 million AUD ($7.5 million USD) round of investment in Vinyl Group by billionaire Wisetech Global chief executive Richard White, who when completed will own more than a third of the ASX-listed business. With funding in place, Vinyl Group’s purchase of 100% of Brag Media will break down as $8 million in cash and a further $2 million in deferred compensation through cash or stock.
Brag Media originated as Seventh Street Media in 2017, launching local trade outlet The Industry Observer and youth-focused title Don’t Bore Us, before rebranding as The Brag Media in 2019 — the same year it partnered with Billboard parent Penske Media to launch Rolling Stone Australia. Brag also represents the digital audiences in the market for Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter, as well as Rotten Tomatoes, Hypebeast and others. In 2022, Brag bought The Music Network and shuttered Industry Observer. Based on unaudited figures disclosed in the announcement, The Brag Media generated $8.39 million in revenue in its current fiscal year, generating a net profit of $334,824.
Once the acquisition is complete, Brag Media’s portfolio will join a Vinyl Group that also includes music credits specialist Jaxsta, social networking platform Vampr and online record store Vinyl.com. As part of the deal, Brag Media’s co-founder and CEO Luke Girgis is set to remain as publisher and managing director of the company’s publishing business.
“Vinyl Group’s suite of products work together to empower participants of the music ecosystem and reach all corners of the creator economy, and we can’t wait to start working with the iconic mastheads that Luke and The Brag Media have successfully developed in Australia,” said Vinyl Group CEO Josh Simons, who took over the top job in late June following the departure of Beth Appleton. “We’ve identified several impactful synergies between the two businesses that will deliver immediate cost efficiencies and revenue, including streamlining Vampr’s in-app ads business and leveraging The Brag Media’s impressive audience reach to bolster Jaxsta, Vinyl.com and Vampr in the market.”
Girgis added that he “couldn’t be happier about” the consolidation. “Right from the earliest discussions we had, it was clear that the Board, Josh and the team shared our vision for the future of the business, and I’m thrilled that they’ve made this commitment with us.”
White said there is “no doubt that iconic brands like Rolling Stone and Variety make sense and add value to VNL. Combined under the leadership of Josh and Vinyl Group, the consolidated business and team will have a lot more growth levers and options.”
Vinyl Group is Australia’s only ASX-listed music business and trades under the ticker code VNL (it was JXT before a recent parent company name change). Its share price jumped 22% to .055 following the acquisition announcement.