Mic lays off most of its employees as millennial-focused news startup seeks buyer

Mic, a New York-based digital news startup aiming at millennials, has cut the majority of its staff and is reportedly in talks to sell the company.

A rep for Mic confirmed the layoffs but declined to specify how many employees were pink-slipped. The company is in talks to sell itself to Bustle Digital Group, according to a Recode report, which also first reported the layoffs Thursday.

As part of the layoffs, Mic publisher Cory Haik, a former Washington Post exec who joined the company in 2016 to lead editorial, audience and platform teams, resigned her post Thursday.

Mic last year had reported having about 165 employees.

Word that Mic was looking to sell itself surfaced in September, when the Wall Street Journal reported Mic had considered a buyout bid from another media company.

The company has raised around $60 million in funding to date, including a $21 million round last year that included an investment from WarnerMedia Investments (formerly Time Warner Investments). Other backers include Lightspeed Venture Partners, WPP, Kyu Collective, Axel Springer, Advancit Capital and Lerer Hippeau Ventures.

Mic was founded in 2011 by CEO Chris Altchek and editor-at-large Jake Horowitz, originally called PolicyMic. The company defines its mission as “to reveal and amplify stories that reshape the world,” for a young audience that “crave[s] journalism to give meaning to the world at a moment of great transformation.”

In the spring of 2017, Mic hired Jonathan Carson — former chief revenue officer of Vevo and CEO of Nielsen Digital — as its first president. Carson left the company after a year, in what Altchek said at the time was a mutual decision.

Mic employees who were laid off, including executive news director Kerry Lauerman, tweeted about the cuts Thursday:

The headquarters of Mic (as in “microphone”) are in New York, and the company has operated offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, Kiev, Stockholm and Berlin.

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