Vinyl Group, which bills itself as Australia’s only ASX-listed music company, has entered into an agreement to fully acquire The Brag Media including its network of mastheads and events.
Vinyl Group, which rebranded from Jaxsta just earlier this month, also announced a second round of investment by WiseTech Global CEO & founder Richard White by way of an $11m placement and debt facility.
Vinyl Group will pay $8m in cash to acquire 100% of The Brag Media and its subsidiaries, with a further $2m payable in cash or stock based on financial performance. A statement accompanying the sale announcement revealed unaudited financial year 2023 results saw The Brag Media generate $8.39m in revenues with a net profit of $334,824. The indicative combined Vinyl Group revenue as at June 30, 2023, would have been $9 million.
The Brag Media publishes owned properties TheBrag.com, The Music Network and Tone Deaf, and Penske Media Corporation (PMC) licensed titles Rolling Stone and Variety in Australia and New Zealand.
The Brag Media also exclusively represents local digital audiences for over a dozen other titles including HypeBeast, Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Music Feeds, ComingSoon, Rotten Tomatoes, Game Revolution and IndieWire. The Brag Media network of brands rclaims a reach of 10m users per month in the region with over 40m monthly page views.
The purchase will be funded with a $11m placement and debt facility from Vinyl Group investor Richard White. The investment will be made from White’s RealWise Group Holdings P/L and follows his previously announced investment in June 2023.
As part of the deal, The Brag Media CEO Luke Girgis has entered into a full-time employment agreement with the company as publisher and managing director of The Brag Media.
Girgis will receive five million options upon sale completion, vesting in two equal tranches. The first tranche vests upon achieving certain revenue and EBIT targets for 2024 and a minimum of one year of employment post-sale. The second tranche vests on the second anniversary of the sale completion.
The Brag Media joins Vinyl Group’s existing portfolio of properties that includes music credits business Jaxsta, the music industry social-professional network and talent marketplace Vampr, and online record store Vinyl.com.
Vinyl Group CEO Josh Simons said: “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. 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.”
Luke Girgis said: “The next phase in the evolution of The Brag Media will take place under the umbrella of Australia’s only ASX-listed music business, and I couldn’t be happier about it. 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. I’d also like to acknowledge my co-founder and managing director Sam Benjamin. This business would not have reached the heights that it has without Sam’s investment, support, leadership and mentorship over the past six years.”
White, the CEO and founder of WiseTech Global, added: “I have watched closely as Josh has built Vinyl Group’s revenue and made substantial business gains since taking my initial investment. I’ve also noted that Luke and his dedicated team at The Brag Media have rapidly grown Brag into one of Australia’s most influential media and creative businesses. There’s 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.”
See also: Mediaweek coverage of The Brag Media