Scoop: Conservative buyers eye The Messenger at a $60 million valuation
A group of conservative media and business executives met with The Messenger founder Jimmy Finkelstein on Wednesday to discuss acquiring a majority stake in his digital news outlet, two sources familiar with the conversation tell Axios.
Why it matters: The proposal — $30 million for a 51% position — could provide The Messenger with a much-needed lifeline, but it would require Finkelstein to give up control.
- Axios reported earlier today that The Messenger has been seeking to raise $20 million in new funding, on the heels of recent layoffs.
Details: The investor group met with Finkelstein at Mar-a-Lago, the Florida private club and residence of former President Trump.
- It includes Omeed Malik, a financier who backed Tucker Carlson's new media venture; Garrett Ventry, a Republican political operative; Ryan Coyne, founder of digital media agency Starboard; and George Farmer, the former CEO of Parler who sits on the board of Britain's conservative news network, GB News.
- They aren't interested in getting involved with the company's editorial efforts, but they believe The Messenger needs to create more revenue opportunities beyond traffic-based advertising and events.
- The Messenger executives said at launch that the news outlet was nonpartisan, and it's made a point to hire journalists across a wide array of topics.
By the numbers: The company, which launched last May with $50 million, generated less than $5 million in revenue last year and is unprofitable, according to a source familiar with the figures.
- The proposed deal would give the new investors roughly a 51% stake in the company for $30 million.
- Most media companies are today valued between one and five times their annual revenue, although some are valued below revenue (e.g., BuzzFeed, Arena Group).
The bottom line: Sources tell Axios that Finkelstein said he would consider the offer but that nothing was finalized during the conversation.
- A spokesperson for The Messenger said that the company is considering a number of financial options.
Go deeper: The Messenger seeks $20 million