Complex Acquires Family Style Food Festival as New Culinary Vertical 

The acquisition is Complex’s answer to BuzzFeed holding on to properties like First We Feast and Hot Ones in the recent sale to Ntwrk

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Complex is redefining its food-centric content, acquiring Family Style Food Festival to serve as the site’s culinary vertical in response to BuzzFeed holding on to First We Feast post-sale. 

Complex was acquired from BuzzFeed in February in a $108.6 million merger with digital platform NTWRK, an effort to bring the brand back to its roots and bolster the commerce content being produced. As part of the deal, BuzzFeed retained ownership of some of Complex’s most popular franchises, including the production arm responsible for the popular YouTube show “Hot Ones.” 

In an effort to rebuild its culinary focused content vertical, Complex has acquired the festival at the intersection of food and streetwear. The festival includes a curated lineup of chefs, restaurants, brands, and entertainment. The partnership will provide experiences and exclusive merchandise collaborations to passionate fans, while delivering news and content within the culture and food spaces. 

Family Style Food Festival was founded in 2019 by Ben Shenassafar, Bobby Kim, and Miles Canares. The festival now draws over 10,000 attendees annually and will continue to expand in Los Angeles through Complex events and pop-ups. 

Since its launch, Family Style has collaborated with renowned streetwear brands, creators, and restaurants to create exclusive merchandise which have become highly sought after including Jon & Vinny’s x Off-White, Kith Treats x Nike, Katz’s Deli x Anti Social Social Club, and many more. 

“I’m thrilled to welcome them to the Complex family,” CEO of Complex Aaron Levant said of the festival acquisition. “The festival aligns perfectly with our mission to redefine the way fans interact with their favorite chefs, brands and artists. We are excited to take Family Style to new heights and bring its highly sought-after collaborations to our fans across the world.”

“With the support of Complex, we’re excited to further expand Family Style into a media platform, becoming the definitive voice for all things food and culture,” Shenassafar said. “We’re looking forward to continuing to grow Family Style into the largest food festival in the world.”

Canares added, “We’re extremely proud of what we’ve built at Family Style, and this partnership with Complex helps us reach heights that we’ve only dreamed of previously.”

The Family Style acquisition is Complex’s first step to truly competing in the food content space after losing First We Feast in the BuzzFeed sale. The food-focused brand that produces the hugely popular “Hot Ones” YouTube interview show was originally a vertical of Complex magazine. BuzzFeed initially acquired Complex just over two years ago for nearly $300 million. 

Since Complex merged with Ntwrk, the platform has named Aria Hughes editor-in-chief and Noah Callahan-Bever the new chief of content. As part of the agreement, Complex also acquired Callahan-Bever’s creator-first media company Idea Generation, which seeks to understand how creators develop content that impacts society. Complex has also inked a deal with Universal Music Group to offer exclusive opportunities for both music fans and artists, amid the label’s bitter feud with TikTok. 


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