Buyer: CondeNetSeller: Lycos, RedditPrice: $25 million (Wirednews.com)When: July (Wirednews.com), November (Reddit)Takeaway: CondeNet finally reunites the print and digital arms of the Wired brand and bolsters the rest of its online lineup.
While Conde Nast prepares for just one major magazine launch this year, online division CondeNet continues an aggressive ramp-up strategy. "We were looking for three things: Sites that would be a good match for the existing vertical we were in or would like to get in; companies that had technology we thought was interesting and useful in its own right; and companies where we saw talent we’d like to bring on board for our own efforts," says CondeNet president Sarah Chubb.
The most notable pick-up was the $25 million acquisition of Wirednews.com from Lycos, reuniting the online brand with Wired magazine after an eight-year separation. Conde Nast had purchased Wired from Wired Ventures for $75 million.
Wirednews.com is also repositioning itself to feature user-generated content, a move anticipated by observers as either "a spectacular failure or a huge success." In December, Wirednews.com had just under 5 million unique visits, according to Chubb.
In addition, CondeNet bought Reddit, a social news aggregator that will be part of Wired. "Reddit has the beginnings of a very interesting audience, but also had a technology we were excited about, and talent we wanted," says Chubb. "We’re continuing to build it as a separate company but we’re using the technology in other places." Reddit’s technology will allow viewers to vote on which companies and trends belong in the Wired 40 that will be published later this year. Additional acquisitions include NutritionData.com, a health and nutrition Web site with more than 600,000 monthly unique visitors. In February, CondeNet will launch Flip.com, a Web site targeted to teen girls that will be primarily user-generated.
While CondeNet has tried to integrate other online properties in the past with mixed results, such as Phys.com, a formerly standalone Web property folded into Self’s Web site, the company must now prove it can commit to a seamless, dedicated online strategy.
Comments: "It’s nice to see those two back together. Never made much sense that they were separated like thatﾅIt’s about time! An obvious deal in the making."