But though this deal may involve two companies in the digital space, in reality it is a classic Hollywood combination. A company that distributes content -- Alloy Digital -- is buying one that makes it -- Generate.
Alloy Digital, a unit of New York-based Alloy Inc., creates content for the 12-34-year-old demographic. It operates numerous websites including Alloy.com, Smosh.com, Gurl.com and Teen.com, all of which are aimed at young adults. The sites contain original content about fashion, entertainment and pop culture.
Former Nickelodeon Chief Geraldine Laybourne is the chairman of Alloy Inc., which also has a publishing arm that is behind the popular teen novels-turned-TV shows-and-movies "Gossip Girl" and "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants."
Generate -- a Los Angeles company founded by Jordan Levin, a former head of the now-defunct WB Network, and Pete Aronson, a television production executive -- creates original digital content both for advertisers and entertainment companies. It also has a talent management arm with clients that include Patton Oswalt and "Daily Show" contributor Wyatt Cenac.
Some of Generate's better known digital efforts included "The Lake," a Web series it made for TheWB.com, a Warner Bros.-owned website with original content. It also makes branded content -- programming that typically is financed in part or wholly by an advertiser with a product to sell. Generate clients have included Ford, Taco Bell and Yahoo.
Generate and Alloy first began talking about a deal almost a year ago, according to Alloy Chief Executive Matt Diamond.
"It was a nice, slow courtship," Diamond said. The acquisition of Generate, he added, is part of the company's strategy to build up its intellectual property and continue to find firms that also produce content targeting the under-35 crowd.
The two companies had worked together in the past. "We become the studio to their network," Levin said of the relationship between Generate and Alloy.
For Generate, it was time to either get bigger or get gobbled up. "We needed to get greater resources behind us," Levin said.
Although Generate will now be something of an in-house producer for Alloy, it will continue to try to sell content to other online platforms as well as in the traditional media space.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
-- Joe Flint
Photo: The Lake. Credit: The WB.com