Aug 12, 2019

Verizon agrees to sell Tumblr to owner of Wordpress

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.

Go deeper

A look at Tumblr's fall as it changes hands once again

When Yahoo bought Tumblr in 2013 for $1.1 billion, its press release included a "promise not to screw it up." We could almost call that a tell, except it was really Yahoo asking if 4 in a row could count as a straight.

Why it matters: For Verizon, selling Tumblr was a fire sale for tax purposes. It also was another way to unload media assets that don't seem to interest Hans Vestberg, who became CEO after the Yahoo purchase. Yes, Yahoo screwed it up. But Verizon did no better.

Go deeperArrowAug 13, 2019

The ACC Network is ready to go live for college football season

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With college football just around the corner, ESPN is set to launch the long-awaited ACC Network on Thursday.

Why it matters: Conference networks have become enormous moneymakers this decade, so the launch of ACCN will help the ACC close the financial gap with leagues like the SEC and Big Ten, who have surged ahead.

Go deeperArrowAug 22, 2019

Group Nine Media raises $50 million from Discovery and Axel Springer

Photo: Group Nine

Group Nine Media, which includes digital lifestyle brands like The Dodo, NowThis, Thrillist and Seeker, has raised $50 million from Discovery Inc. and German publishing giant Axel Springer.

Why it matters: It's one of the biggest digital media investments in the past year. Investors have been mostly bearish on digital content companies because they are hard to scale and usually aren't very profitable.

Go deeperArrowSep 9, 2019