Bloomberg LP agreed to acquire digital publication CityLab from The Atlantic, the latest deal in the media industry’s parade of mergers and acquisitions this year.
The financial data and news company owned by presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg is paying an undisclosed amount for the site that reports on urban communities, sustainable development and issues facing the cities of tomorrow. The purchase, which is expected to close by the end of this year, marks Bloomberg’s first acquisition since it bought Businessweek from McGraw-Hill in October 2009.
This year has been active for media mergers and acquisitions, with 121 deals according to Pitchbook. Changing business models spurred M&A activity in almost every division of media, with major corporations like Disney and CBS, newspaper giant Gannett and digital outlets such as Vox Media and Bustle Digital Group among active participants.
The M&A frenzy may slow in 2020, as big companies integrate their acquisitions and set their sites on forging a path in the evolving market.
“The last decade has been characterized by frenetic [mergers and acquisitions] to reach scaled platforms,” Aryeh Bourkoff, founder and CEO of media-focused investment bank LionTree, told the Wall Street Journal. “That mountain has been climbed. Now, we are going to be level-setting into 2020 and over the next decade, when we’ll have a slowdown of that trend.”
- While CityLab will continue to operate as a standalone site, Bloomberg plans to use its coverage to complement its other vertical-specific sections, including the healthcare-focused Prognosis and retail-centric Checkout.
- As part of the deal, Bloomberg also acquires CityLab’s event series, which brings together urban leaders and members of local governments to discuss solutions to major metropolitan issues, such as affordable housing, the opioid crisis and gun violence.