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Hello Giggles: Time Inc acquires Zooey Deschanel co-founded site

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Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Time Inc., parent company of EW and PEOPLE, announced on Monday the acquisition of HelloGiggles, a mobile and social-first millennial women’s brand covering pop culture, relationships, beauty, fashion and other lifestyle categories from a positive point of view. The site, co-founded by Zooey Deschanel, Sophia Rivka Rossi, and Molly McAleer in 2011, reaches more than 17 million monthly unique visitors* and has seen rapid growth in traffic. Since mid-2015, PEOPLE and HelloGiggles have partnered to bring custom integrated advertising packages to market. HelloGiggles’ authentic and trusted voice, highly-engaged audience and scalable contributor network, together with the power of Time Inc.’s multimedia capabilities, will allow it to expand into other areas of content and media.

“With its passionate, highly-engaged audience and quality editorial voice, HelloGiggles is a great fit for our entertainment portfolio, which includes PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly,” said Time Inc. Chairman and CEO Joe Ripp. “We see the opportunity for HelloGiggles to continue to evolve and grow as a multimedia content business. The site provides strategic benefits including a contributor network that unlocks access to a new pool of editorial and creative talent, an expansive audience of highly-engaged consumers and experience in branded and native content solutions.”

“Joining Time Inc. is an amazing opportunity to grow our brand and expand our message,” commented Rossi. “Becoming a part of the iconic PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly family is an extremely exciting step for us. Together we will strengthen our connection to an engaged community of women and be well-positioned to build a truly 360 lifestyle content brand for the millennial generation.”

Deschanel added: “With Time Inc. as our partner, we’ll be able to expand the HelloGiggles mission and inspire and support even more young women with a safe and positive media platform.”

Rossi will remain in her CEO role and report to Rich Battista, Executive Vice President of Time Inc. and President of PEOPLE, Entertainment Weekly and PEOPLE en Español. Deschanel will continue to serve as Chief Creative Officer of HelloGiggles. The company will retain its name and remain in its current headquarters in Los Angeles. While continuing to operate as a separate business, HelloGiggles will have access to the considerable assets of Time Inc.

Battista commented: “Throughout our collaboration over the past several months, we have been very impressed with the HelloGiggles team and the business they have built to date. They possess a unique ability to connect with and inspire female millennials through their trusted, celebratory brand voice. HelloGiggles’ reach will help us deliver more content to our combined audiences and provide our marketing partners with greater access to highly-engaged targeted communities.”

Members of the HelloGiggles senior management team are veterans in the digital and women’s content space, with a collective four decades working for brands such as Yahoo, MySpace, ABC and Condé Nast.

Time Inc. has been extending the PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly brands to young women and millennials. In January 2015, PEOPLE was one of 11 media brands selected by Snapchat to participate in the launch of its Discover platform. Since 2014, PEOPLE has been the exclusive publishing partner with Poshly, a premier data and insights platform with a mission to build personalization technologies that connect beauty brands with beauty consumers in innovative, data-driven ways. In July 2015, PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly sponsored VidCon’s three-day “Creator Track” Interview Stage featuring YouTube personalities and content creators.

Since becoming an independent public company in 2014, Time Inc. has been expanding its brands, content and audiences into new revenue streams. In July 2015 Time Inc. purchased inVNT, a company that specializes in live media, and announced the creation of Sports Illustrated Play, a new business devoted to youth and amateur sports. Time Inc. also acquired UK Cycling Events (UKCE), a leading UK provider of premium cycling events, and FanSided, a sports, entertainment and lifestyle network of more than 300 websites with a collective audience of approximately 15 million monthly unique visitors.

Time Inc. represented itself in this transaction. Telos Advisors served as financial advisor to HelloGiggles.

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