TechDogs-"NTWRK Acquires Complex To Build Next Generation Content And Shopping Experience"

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NTWRK Acquires Complex To Build Next Generation Content And Shopping Experience

By Business Wire

Business Wire
Overall Rating

New company will merge the digital media juggernaut with fast-growing marketplace technology to create the definitive cultural commerce, content, and experiential platform reaching a large, dedicated audience

As part of a strategic partnership with Universal Music Group, new platform will offer unprecedented opportunities for both music superfans and artists while continuing to serve all major and independent artists and labels

Investors include Main Street Advisors, Jimmy Iovine, Universal Music Group, and Goldman Sachs

NEW YORK & LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--NTWRK, the premium live-video shopping platform and curated marketplace serving buyers and sellers, today announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire publisher Complex to create a new destination for “superfan” culture that will define the future of commerce, digital media, and music.

The acquisition marks the next generation of Complex’s leadership as a publication reaching young audiences about the trends, products, and style they love. By marrying an e-commerce platform anchored in sneakers, streetwear, and collectibles with content and music, the new company will transform into a digital hub at the forefront of convergence culture. The deal will allow Complex to leverage NTWRK’s marketplace and access culture-obsessed consumers to create a one-of-a-kind experience for a highly engaged audience.

NTWRK is a digital platform that offers users unprecedented access to exclusive products while fostering community through livestream shopping. Since the company launched, it has been at the forefront of the livestream shopping industry, which continues to expand in the United States and is estimated to reach $68 billion in sales by 2026. The new company will be led by Aaron Levant, who co-founded NTWRK with Jamie Iovine and Gaston Dominguez-Letelier in 2018 and has served as CEO since its inception. Aaron has extensive experience working with the Complex brand, co-creating ComplexCon alongside Marc Eckō, Complex’s founder, in 2016.

Complex has been a beacon of culture and innovation for over two decades” said Aaron Levant, new CEO of Complex. My journey with Complex began as an admirer of their original magazine in 2002 and it has now come full circle as I step into the leadership role. Alongside this impressive team, we will create the definitive global content, commerce, and experiential platform of convergence culture.”

NTWRK has partnered with some of the world’s leading cultural and entertainment figures including Post Malone, Lewis Hamilton, BLACKPINK, and Takashi Murakami.

As a strategic partner in the new venture, Interscope Geffen A&M (IGA) and Capitol Music Group will be the first Universal Music Group labels to collaborate with the new company to deliver industry-leading and culture-moving experiences and exclusive collaborations, direct to passionate music fans in groundbreaking and authentic ways. Importantly, this new platform will be accessible to artists from all major and independent labels as well.

This partnership will give our artists access to a dynamic network to deepen connections with superfans through unique collaborations and cultural moments,” said John Janick, Chairman and CEO of IGA, who will also serve on the board of the new combined company. "We share a collective vision on how D2C, experiential, brand partnerships and content are mutually reinforcing cornerstones of the fan experience. We will continue to sign and elevate new generations of great talent and we believe that we can best serve these artists through a holistic set of capabilities.”

IGA previously collaborated with NTWRK for exclusive collaborations with BLACKPINK x Murakami and the Interscope 30th Anniversary vinyl collection, which brought an intergenerational group of visual artists (including Damien Hirst, Kehinde Wiley and Ed Ruscha) into dialogue with some of the label group’s most iconic artists from the last three decades.

Aaron Levant, along with Jamie Iovine and Gaston Dominguez-Letelier, are building an incredible platform and this acquisition will exponentially accelerate its growth,” said Jimmy Iovine, the founder of Interscope Records and Beats by Dre. “Combining the power and reach of Complex with the NTWRK engine serving creators across music, fashion, and art will be transformative for the next generation of consumer technology.”

We are proud to be early investors in NTWRK and to be investing again to bring them together with Complex,” said Paul Wachter, CEO and Founder of Main Street AdvisorsThe combination of these two very creative and innovative teams will build a business designed for the future of content and commerce as well as artist and audience.”

About NTWRK

NTWRK is a curated livestream shopping marketplace that brings together the world's most influential artists, brands, and personalities to celebrate culture. Rooted in sneakers, streetwear, and all things collectible, NTWRK offers unprecedented access to rare and exclusive products – all while fostering communities of buyers and sellers through livestream shopping.

About Complex

Complex is a global youth entertainment network spanning major pop culture categories, including streetwear and style, music, sneakers, and sports. Complex is diversified around three pillars: advertising, e-commerce, and content. It creates and distributes original programming for Gen Z and Millennial audiences through premium distributors such as Netflix, Hulu, Turner, Corus, Facebook, Snap, YouTube, Roku, and more. Additionally, Complex generates revenue through a number of core business lines, including branded content and advertising, licensing, events, e-commerce, and agency consulting services.

About Universal Music Group

At Universal Music Group, we exist to shape culture through the power of artistry. UMG is the world leader in music-based entertainment, with a broad array of businesses engaged in recorded music, music publishing, merchandising, and audiovisual content. Featuring the most comprehensive catalog of recordings and songs across every musical genre, UMG identifies and develops artists and produces and distributes the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful music in the world. Committed to artistry, innovation, and entrepreneurship, UMG fosters the development of services, platforms, and business models in order to broaden artistic and commercial opportunities for our artists and create new experiences for fans. For more information, visit www.universalmusic.com.

About Main Street Advisors

Main Street Advisors, Inc. (MSA), based in Santa Monica, CA, is an investment advisory firm serving high-profile clients from the media, entertainment, music, and sports industries. Current and prior MSA investments include 88Rising, ATTN:, Fenway Sports Group, Blaze Pizza, NTWRK, and The Spring Hill Company. In addition to its investment activities, MSA advises its clients and portfolio companies on their most critical objectives and transactions. MSA has been involved in landmark transactions such as the acquisition of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool Football Club, the development and sale of Beats by Dr. Dre to Apple, and Klutch Sports securing a strategic investment from United Talent Agency.

Contacts

NTWRK/Complex/MSA:
Jeremy Adler, Upland Workshop, jeremy@uplandworkshop.com

UMG:
James Murtaugh-Hopkins, UMG, james.murtagh-hopkins@umusic.com

First published on Thu, Feb 22, 2024

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NTWRK Live-video Shopping Platform Complex Universal Music Group Livestream Shopping Digital Media

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