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Verizon agrees to sell Tumblr to owner of Wordpress

A picture of the Tumblr app icon.
Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images

Verizon is set to sell the social network Tumblr to Automattic Inc, the owner of online publishing tool Wordpress. A source familiar with the deal puts the price-tag "well below" $20 million, while another source puts it below $10 million.

The big picture: Tumblr, while unprofitable, hosts more than 450 million blogs and was once considered a major player in the social media space. The network was acquired by Yahoo for $1.1 billion in 2013, before moving under Verizon's umbrella through the carrier's acquisition of Yahoo in 2017. Verizon's desire to sell Tumblr had been previously known, but as of May, Pornhub had been the only bidder to show public interest.

Automattic Inc. will buy the network and take on its 200 employees.

Between the lines: Tumblr has faced backlash over the years for not properly monitoring pornographic content, which Verizon ultimately banned last year. Automattic's Chief Executive Matt Mullenweg told the Wall Street Journal that he plans to maintain the ban.