Vox Media Acquires Preet Bharara’s Podcast Company

Vox Media, the media company whose properties include New York Magazine, announced the acquisition of Cafe Studios, the podcast company co-founded by Preet Bharara, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Bharara — who inspired the character played by Paul Giamatti in Showtime’s “Billions” — was fired by then-President Trump in March 2017 as part of a purge of Obama-administration appointees.

Cafe Studios was founded in 2017 by Preet Bharara and his brother Vinit Bharara, a serial entrepreneur who previously founded Some Spider Studios and Diapers.com. Preet Bharara and Tamara Sepper, who serves as the executive producer and head of content at Cafe Studios, will join Vox Media along with a team of podcast hosts, producers, and product developers. Cafe Studios will operate as a division of the Vox Media Podcast Network.

Podcasts from Cafe Studios include its flagship “Stay Tuned With Preet,” exploring how law and policy intersect with politics, news, business, history and technology. Other podcast hosts include former New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram and Elie Honig, former co-head of the Southern District of New York’s organized crime unit. The company also operates a subscription program that offers members exclusive podcasts, newsletters, articles and live events.

Cafe Studios is Vox Media’s fourth merger or acquisition in the last three years. In its biggest deal, Vox Media in the fall of 2019 bought New York Media, publisher of New York Magazine and digital properties including the Cut and Vulture. The company also has acquired Epic, a film, TV, audio, and production studio, and commenting platform Coral.

“Preet and his team at Cafe have built a successful podcast studio with a compelling perspective — and an equally impressive community of devoted listeners,” Jim Bankoff, Vox Media’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “Bringing Cafe into the Vox Media Podcast Network is aligned with our goal of delivering high-quality editorial content at scale and providing audiences highly relevant voices and insights.”

Bharara said in a statement, “This is an opportunity for tremendous growth with a company that shares in Cafe’s mission, values, and commitment to quality. Our creators are bursting at the seams with plans for more thoughtful, educational content and, in Vox Media, we earn a partner with a large audience, strategic business, and a strong reach across text, video and events.”

Last summer, Vox Media laid off 6% of its workforce, letting go about 70 employees, amid a steep revenue drop-off. The company expects be profitable in 2021 and still has cash on hand from $200 million in funding it raised in 2015 that valued the company at more than $1 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Vox Media’s podcast network includes more than 200 premium podcasts, “Today, Explained” with Sean Rameswaram, “Decoder” with Nilay Patel, and “Pivot,” co-hosted Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway.

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