INDIAN LAND, S.C. — Lindsey Turrentine first heard of Red Ventures last fall, when it bought the venerable tech news site CNET, where she is the senior vice president in charge of content. She sat down at her kitchen table in Berkeley, Calif., and frantically started Googling to find out what it was.
Her experience wasn’t uncommon. People working at the tourism guide Lonely Planet, the travel site The Points Guy and the health and medical information site Healthline were similarly blindsided in recent years, when Red Ventures bought up special interest publications in a multibillion-dollar shopping spree.
Their Googling and mandatory corporate retreats led them to the company’s South Carolina headquarters, a 180-acre campus with a cluster of modern buildings, a fire pit, a six-lane bowling alley, spin room, pickle ball courts and 264 residences for employees who choose to live where they work.
Red Ventures, which started as a digital marketing company, has attracted serious investments from private equity firms. Its location has helped obscure what is perhaps the biggest digital publisher in America, a 4,500-employee juggernaut that says it has roughly $2 billion in annual revenues, a conservative valuation earlier this year of more than $11 billion, and more readers, as measured by Comscore, than any media brand you’ve ever heard of — an average of 751 million visits a month.