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Automattic CEO and WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg in 2014. Photo by Auby Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE via Getty Images

Automattic Inc., the parent company of web publishing platform WordPress.com, announced on Thursday that it raised a $300 million as a part of a Series D round from Salesforce Ventures. The investment puts Automattic’s valuation at $3 billion post-funding.

Why it matters: "A website for everyone" is the cry of a bygone tech era, but businesses and many individuals still want to set up their own websites, and WordPress remains the dominant tool in the field.

Details: The raise brings Automattic's total amount raised to $491 million in funding over four rounds. Salesforce Ventures joins Insight, Tiger Global, and True Ventures as an investor in the company.

  • For Automattic, the funding will help the company grow its WordPress business, says Automattic CEO and WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg.
  • For Salesforce, the funding deepens the company's commitment to WordPress and the open web, says President and Chief Product Officer Bret Taylor.

Be smart: WordPress is an open-source software platform that's owned by a non-profit group called The WordPress Foundation. The foundation works to ensure that WordPress remains a free, open-sourced platform that's accessible for anyone to contribute to, mostly by improving its code.

  • The popular consumer-facing domain WordPress.com is owned by privately held Automattic. Mullenweg was a co-founder of WordPress. According to Mullenweg, WordPress powers more than 34% of all sites on the web.

Between the lines: Automattic makes most of its money by selling subscriptions to software services that are related to the WordPress platform, like WooCommerce, an open-source e-commerce plugin for WordPress; Jetpack, a customization and security plugin for WordPress; and enterprise WordPress for businesses.

  • It also makes money by selling advertising against some of the free blogs that users create on WordPress.com.

The big picture: In August, Automattic purchased Tumblr from Verizon for less than $3 million, a fraction of what it was worth when Yahoo bought it for $1.1 billion in 2013 (Verizon later acquired Yahoo).

  • Mullenweg alluded to the fact that he doesn't plan to make any major changes to Tumblr and that he sees it as complementary to his biggest money-maker, WordPress.com.
  • Our thought bubble: WordPress.com and Tumblr, although very different products, have both centered on creative empowerment — giving people free tools to build a platform and audience on the web.

The bottom line: The raise doesn't seem to be related to Automattic's recent acquisition of Tumblr.

Editor‘s note: This story has been updated to reflect the correct amount of total funds raised over four rounds and to clarify that Yahoo, not Verizon, purchased Tumblr for $1.1 billion.

Go deeper

Scoop: Former OMB director to set up Pro-Trump think tanks

OMB Director Russ Vought parfticipates in a photo-op for the printing of President Donald Trumps budget for Fiscal Year 2020 at the Government Publishing Office in Washington on Thursday, March 7, 2019. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Russ Vought, who led Donald Trump's Office of Management and Budget, plans to announce two pro-Trump organizations Tuesday, aiming to provide the ideological ammunition to sustain Trump's political movement after his departure from the White House.

Why it matters: The Center for American Restoration and an advocacy arm, America Restoration Action, will try to keep cultural issues that animated Trump’s presidency on the public agenda, according to people familiar with the matter.

Janet Yellen confirmed as Treasury secretary

Janet Yellen. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Senate voted 84-15 to confirm Janet Yellen as Treasury secretary on Monday.

Why it matters: Yellen is the first woman to serve as Treasury secretary, a Cabinet position that will be crucial in helping steer the country out of the pandemic-induced economic crisis.

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4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Scoop: Red Sox strike out on deal to go public

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The parent company of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool F.C. has ended talks to sell a minority ownership stake to RedBall Acquisition, a SPAC formed by longtime baseball executive Billy Beane and investor Gerry Cardinale, Axios has learned from multiple sources. An alternative investment, structured more like private equity, remains possible.

Why it matters: Red Sox fans won't be able to buy stock in the team any time soon.