Industry executives echo hard times at Defy, but sources close to the company claim a buyer is in its very near future
A little over a year after raising $70 million in series B funding, Defy Media, the company that operates SMOSH, Clevver, and Screen Junkies, has laid off close to 20 employees as of late January. The layoffs, which come at the end of a two year long, unsuccessful attempt by Defy to find a buyer willing to pay upwards of $150 million for the company, are the result of restructuring within in the company’s product/tech, creative services, and programmatic advertising departments, according to sources familiar with the matter.
In addition to the layoffs, sources close to the company say that Defy is close to finding an acquirer and is also in the process of trying to sell its independent assets. The company’s new asking price is unknown.
Perhaps the most well known brand in Defy’s portfolio is SMOSH, a YouTube brand it acquired from DECA (now known as Kin Community) and one that currently reaches over 22 million subscribers on YouTube where it draws over 140 million views monthly, on average.
According to SocialBlade, those kinds of numbers could generate up to $4 million annually from ad revenue on YouTube alone. Under Defy’s leadership, SMOSH expanded the brand to include SMOSH Games, which in its own right has over 6 million subscribers.
The layoffs also come less than a year after Barry Blumberg, who was instrumental in building SMOSH, departed from his role as the company’s Chief Content Officer.
Defy Media, which is the post-merger moniker of Alloy Digital and Break Media, has built a multi-platform media business that includes owned and operated sites for teens, young adults . The company says it garners over 800 million monthly unique views from over 80 millon monthly visitors.