Evolve Media Acquires AfterEllen.com

AfterEllenLogoEvolve Media, owners and operators of Crave Online, have made a major addition to their content publishing business. For an undisclosed sum, the company has acquired pioneering lesbian lifestyle and community site AfterEllen.com from Viacom.

“We’re bringing over the entire staff [except for EIC Karman Kregloe],” Evolve Media president and co-founder Brian Fitzgerald tells FishbowlNY via telephone. “There are two to three full-time employees and, as our publishing business goes these days, an army of perma-lancers.”

“One thing the AfterEllen staff is excited about is that a major piece of the Evolve Media operation is in Los Angeles, and the head editor – Trish Bendix (pictured, below) – is based in LA.” he continues. “We want her to come into the office, not full-time, but to be able to take advantage of the team of people we have that can help to be a resource to grow the audience.”

AfterEllen.com was created in the spring of 2002 by Sarah Warn. She and several others launched companion site AfterElton.com in 2005, which was last year re-branded as TheBacklot.com and remains owned by Viacom.

In 2012, Evolve Media sold SheKnows.com for nine figures. The deal was designed primarily to give the company the liquidity it needed to exit its equity partnerships. Two years later, the company is in full acquisition mode.

AfterEllenTrishBendix“We bought the largest Australian music news and information site [MusicFeeds.com.au] earlier this year, and that sits under the Crave Online vertical,” Fitzgerald explains. “And we are actually under agreement to buy two additional businesses right now. So we’re trying to get as aggressive as we can.”

Evolve Media has offices in the international English-language territories of Canada, the UK and Australia, something Fitzgerald sees as another element of the AfterEllen acquisition. “This is an opportunity for us to look at how we hire writers in those territories and how we can localize the AfterEllen content,” he says.

“This is an acquisition that we sought out. We saw it as a very strong fit for the Totally Her publishing unit. And we think the marketing community has come a very long way, as well. The Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 support for the LGBT community has definitely been increasing, and I think people are recognizing that this is a very engaged, very passionate and very influential community.”

@hollywoodspin rhorgan@gmail.com Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.