Condé Nast Buys Privately Held Pitchfork Media

In a deal that gives it immediate access to younger male readership, Condé Nast has purchased privately held Pitchfork Media Inc., owner of online music publication Pitchfork.com, a related quarterly print magazine and the producer of music festivals in Chicago and Paris. The price wasn’t disclosed.

The acquisition is the first purchase that Bob Sauerberg, president of Condé Nast, has made since he was named CEO in September. That promotion becomes effective in January.

“We were attracted by Pitchfork’s editorial voice, its young audience, and its thriving video and events businesses,” said Mr. Sauerberg in an interview. “We’re developing our digital footprint, and hope to make more purchases in the near future. We’re investing in our own brands, but we’re going to be looking at other brands as well.”

Condé Nast is a unit of Advance Publications Inc., which is privately owned by the Newhouse family.

‘We’re developing our digital footprint, and hope to make more purchases in the near future. We’re investing in our own brands, but we’re going to be looking at other brands as well.’

—Condé Nast President Bob Sauerberg

On Tuesday, the Pitchfork website featured a wide range of music-related articles, including an interview with rapper Le1f, a feature about a hit Latin song and a piece about a new Beach Boys book.

Pitchfork.com had 3 million unique visitors in the U.S. in August, up 50% from 2 million in August 2013, according to measurement tracking firm comScore Inc.

“We have achieved modest levels of financial success but there is a lot more we want to do, in terms of editorial, videos and festivals,” said Chris Kaskie, president of Pitchfork Media, which is based in Chicago. “We’re a small company with roughly 40 people. There’s a lot of ambition that needs to be satiated and we’re in need of support. When we thought of how we wanted to grow, this deal made good sense to us. They are kindred spirits.”

Mr. Kaskie said the two companies had been working together on an earlier project and that the discussion of a sale evolved from that collaboration. Mr. Kaskie, a co-owner, said Pitchfork Media was founded in 1996.

WSJ - Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg