SeriousEats.com, the site founded by Ed Levine in 2006, has been sold according to the New York Times. Fexy Media, a fledgling food-focused media company out of Seattle was the buyer; Fexy also purchased Roadfood.com.
According to its website's landing page, Fexy is a "portfolio of digital brands unveiling in 2015." Per the Times' report, Fexy plans to build itself out as "a force in the world of digital food media." Its co-founders are Ben Sternberg, Cliff Sharples, and his wife, Lisa. The Sharples are behind Garden.com; Ms. Sharples was formerly a president at Allrecipes.com. Fexy was originally founded as Teneology in 2013.
The Serious Eats team has ebbed and flowed over the years, at times dabbling in city-specific restaurant news and user-generated forums; these have since folded. The site found most of its success in American street food coverage and longer form-style guides to international regional cuisine. Serious Eats retains a stronghold of recipes from editors like Daniel Gritzer, Max Falkowitz, and J. Kenji López-Alt (The Food Lab). Its recipe coverage was clearly a draw for the some 6 million unique visitors it drew last month, according to comScore.
According to his user profile, Levine believes "[l]aunching the site has been the greatest experience of [his] life." Reached by email this morning, Levine commented,
"We are thrilled about this. Having Fexy behind us will give us the resources we need to continue to expand our audience by giving folks more of what they come to Serious Eats for: proven great recipes and techniques, informed opinions about real food, and a uniquely welcoming yet authoritative voice. And Fexy's belief in digital video matches ours. Everyone should be on the lookout for our new Food Lab video series starring Kenji Lopez-Alt and Katie Quinn, coming to screens everywhere very soon."
Financial details of the deal have not been released, but Fexy reveals that the funding came from a recent $40 million raise from Austin-based Tritium Partners. Sharples told the Times that Fexy has no plans to "disrupt" Serious Eats' growth. Echoing strategy heard across web-based media today, the group plans to push deeper into video content. Levine will remain at the helm of Serious Eats.
Fexy's acquisition of Roadfood.com sounds similarly structured: founders Jane and Michael Stern (also authors of books including The Lexicon of Real American Food and Chili Nation) will continue to oversee operations at the site. Fexy plans only to "[re-energize] it for a younger generation."
Per the Times, Fexy's portfolio will continue to grow. What might be the company's next acquisition? An urban upstart like Infatuation.com? Tasting Table, which has its own extensive and high-quality cache of recipes and video content, might be too pricey for a new company like Fexy. But perhaps an app like Luka, which provides restaurant recommendations, could help fill out its portfolio.