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Digital Publisher Refinery29 Wants to Grow Outside the U.S.

There will be a U.K. site soon, with Germany and France to come.

Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Refinery29, the digital publisher aimed at millennial women, wants to go global.

The New York-based site is opening up a U.K. outpost, which will go live in November, and plans to roll out sites in Germany and France early next year. It has hired Kate Ward, an executive at TV producer Endemol Shine, to run its international efforts.

"We see a massive opportunity," said Refinery29 CEO Philippe von Borries. The other way of saying that is that up until now he has had a modest international audience. Von Borries says he has a U.K. audience of about a million readers; he says his site has about 25 million visitors overall.

Refinery29 is one of several U.S.-based digital publishers who have set their sights on worldwide expansion. Both BuzzFeed and Business Insider are trying to build out a presence in the U.K., and Verizon/AOL’s Huffington Post has been there for a while.

While it is common for U.S. publishers to expand internationally via joint ventures and licensing deals, von Borries says his initial set of foreign sites will be owned and operated.

In April, Refinery29 raised $50 million in a round led by Scripps Network Interactive and ad giant WPP.

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