Mashable, the pioneering tech blog, is selling itself to the publisher of PC Magazine for $50 million — a quarter of its past valuation

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Mashable

  • Mashable is selling itself to old school magazine publisher Ziff Davis for $50 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.
  • It’s a big cut from the company’s last valuation of around $250 million in 2016.
  • Ziff Davis, owner of PC Magazine, tried and failed to buy Gawker Media last year.

Mashable has agreed to sell itself to the old school magazine publisher Ziff Davis for $50 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.

That’s considerably less than Mashable’s most recent valuation of $250 million in 2016, according to the WSJ (although Pitchbook pegs Mashable’s valuation at the time at $200 million).

Mashable gained popularity as an early example of profitable digital media shortly after its founding in 2005. Its viral blog style spread quickly and easily on social media, making it a hit with advertisers looking for the easy-to-calculate readership metrics that Facebook and Twitter virality provided.

But as the company aged, it faced the same sluggish returns as many other digital media companies. Mashable laid off 30 employees last year as it made a pivot to video content, which often brings in high premiums from advertisers.

Mashable had been seeking another round of venture funding as of August of this year, according to Pitchbook, but apparently didn’t succeed.

Ziff Davis, whose best known publication is PC Magazine, has been looking to acquire a strong digital brand for years. The 90-year-old publishing company was expected to buy Gawker Media for $90 million in 2016, but got outbid by Univision, its current owner, at the last minute.

A source inside Mashable said that some staffers are anxious because there haven’t been any announcements to the staff about the sale, and that employees are learning everything they know from outside news reports.

Mashable and Ziff Davis did not respond to requests for comment.

News of Mashable’s fire sale came amid a day of bad news in the digital media market.

BuzzFeed, which is privately held and previously expected to go public next year, was targeting around $350 million in revenue this year, but is expected to fall short by 15% to 20%, according to a separate WSJ. And Vice Media, another high-flying media company, will likely miss its $800 million revenue target, according to the same report.