Esteemed technology writer Steven Levy is returning to Condé Nast, the company announced today at the Wired Business Conference. In 2014, Levy left Wired to found Backchannel, one of the first publications built on top of the Medium blogging platform. Now, less than two years after that announcement, Condé Nast has announced plans to purchase the publication and fold it into the Wired group, where it will sit alongside Ars Technica and Wired itself. Wired's Jessi Hempel will join Backchannel as part of the deal. Early negotiations of the deal were reported by Recode in April.
Backchannel is one of the last of the major sponsored publications built on top of Medium’s publishing platform, nearly all of which have either left Medium or shuttered entirely. Comics website The Nib publicly split with Medium in 2015, while Archipelago and The Message have both ceased publication. Matter, which specialized in longform features, shifted to a studio-incubator model in March.
Over the same period, Medium has been actively fundraising, announcing a $50 million funding round in September of 2015, followed by a $50 million round the following April. The company also actively pursued an acquisition by Twitter after Jack Dorsey’s return as CEO, although the deal ultimately did not materialize.