Ziff Davis Buys Mashable on the Cheap
The once-trendy site fetched far less than it once could have.
When you hear a number like that you don’t necessarily think fire sale, but in Mashable’s case it’s a deep discount from where the company was a year or two ago. How quickly the tables can turn.
Just last year Time Warner injected $15 million into Mashable, which raised its valuation to $250 million. Around that time the company also took a new direction and sort of abandoned its mission to deliver topical content that was in sync with the social media consciousness. That, of course, included a clichéd “pivot to video” and a complete overhaul of staff. Given the sale price today, it wasn’t a good move. And perhaps the influence of its investors wasn’t such a good thing either. But that’s merely speculation.
Still, this is all great news for Ziff, and its parent company J2 Media, who just bought a site with scale and brand equity for a relative song. Launching something similar would have required time, money and additional resources which could prove to be a fruitless risk. It also fits into Ziff’s portfolio well, a company that has a large tech audience, which likely means it already has plenty of eager partners who will gladly buy Mashable inventory. Plus, Ziff has the chops of being a digital native publisher. It owns AskMen—a site that in many ways is similar to Mashable in that it delivers an array of content, much of which is highly sharable among its community.
Mashable has yet to comment on the sale, but many have reported that the company and its founder and CEO Pete Cashmore (pictured) can’t be happy with how things have shaken out. It was once touted for its innovative approach to content amplification and product offerings, and it didn’t seem to have issues raising money through rounds of investment. But after failed attempts at raising more money this year, apparently it along with its investors grew antsy and they must have decided it was time to sell before things got worse.
Cashmore founded Mashable in 2005 out of his home in Scotland when he was just 20-years-old. He grew the site to reaching more than 50 million unique visitors at one time, with a total social following in the tens of millions.