Uzabase, a Tokyo-based business intelligence and media company, announced today its planned acquisition of Quartz from former owner and creator Atlantic Media. As part of the sale, Quartz will take on responsibility for the English language version of subscription-based news platform NewsPicks, one of Uzabase’s two core businesses, in order to expand its reach in the U.S. and Europe.
The deal, which is expected to close within the next 30 days, is valued between $75 an $110 million, depending on the closing 2018 financial performance and operations of Quartz, which is on track to grow by 25 to 35 percent over last year.
Uzabase, founded in 2008 by co-CEOs Yusuke Umeda and Ryosuke Niino, former investment bankers, and COO Yusuke Inagaki, a former IT consultant, also owns SPEEDA, a B2B financial information and corporate intelligence platform, which is the other core business of the media company. It is headquartered in Tokyo and has offices globally in New York, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Sri Lanka.
NewsPicks was created out of the company in 2013, serving as one of the Japan’s first business media platforms optimized for mobile. Since then, the subscription service, with a price point of $15 per month, has over 3 million users in Japan and 64,000 paid subscribers, and has grown 80 percent YOY.
Rumors of the partnership began in the fall of 2017 after Uzabase reached out to Quartz to discuss the complementary values and ambitions of the companies. The acquisition is aimed at leveraging Quartz’s global voice, editorial, advertising and product expertise as an international news brand, with Uzabase’s niche expertise of data and paid content, to create a larger and more robust global business news brand.
Co-president and editor-in-chief Kevin J. Delaney and co-president and publisher Jay Lauf will take on shared leadership responsibilities of Quartz as co-CEOs, and will report directly to Yusuke Umeda, Uzabase and NewsPicks founder and CEO.
“Five years ago, when I was originally thinking about launching a digital media business, I discovered Quartz for the first time. I thought that they were truly the first new media company to successfully combine quality journalism with mobile technology,” said Umeda in a statement. “They played a big role in inspiring me to launch NewsPicks.”
Under its new owners, Quartz will retain its name and operations out of its New York City headquarters while also maintaining its global offices. Many leaders of the company will also remain in their roles, including chief revenue officer Joy Robins, and chief product officer and executive editor Zach Seward.
“I have agreed that between 33 percent and 50 percent of the purchase price will be paid to my family in Uzabase stock,” said David Bradley, owner and Atlantic Media chairman, in a memo to the Quartz staff, who estimates that this acquisition will position him to be one of the largest Uzabase shareholders.
The new co-CEOs also ensured their staff that “all staff are unaffected by this agreement,” and “no layoffs are planned as part of the acquisition.”