Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Automattic To Buy Tumbler from Verizon

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, August 12, 2019

It’s just fun.
Or money.
It’s the same thing, isn’t it?
Can you hear me now?


Verizon to Sell Tumblr to WordPress.com Owner

Carrier sheds blogging site for nominal amount as part of media unit revamp

Tumblr is a free service that hosts millions of blogs where users can upload photos, music and art, but it has been overshadowed by rival social-media sites.

By Sarah Krouse
Aug. 12, 2019 4:00 pm ET

Verizon Communications Inc. (stock symbol VZ) has agreed to sell its blogging website Tumblr to the owner of popular online-publishing tool WordPress.com, unloading for a nominal amount a site that once fetched a purchase price of more than $1 billion.

Automattic Inc. will buy Tumblr for an undisclosed sum and take on about 200 staffers, the companies said. Tumblr is a free service that hosts millions of blogs where users can upload photos, music and art, but it has been dwarfed by Facebook, Reddit and other services.

Verizon became Tumblr’s owner through the carrier’s 2017 acquisition of Yahoo (symbol AABA) as part of a bid to build a digital media and advertising business. The wireless carrier began seeking a buyer for Tumblr earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal reported.

It discussed a potential transaction with a handful of parties, people familiar with the matter said. The sale price isn’t material to Verizon, one of the people said.

Verizon is in the process of revamping its media group, which struggled to meet revenue targets in recent years. The business, home to legacy Yahoo and AOL web properties such as HuffPost, TechCrunch, feminist media brand Makers and celebrity-interview site Build, is increasingly focused on subscription and original content.

The Tumblr acquisition is the largest ever in terms of price and head count for Automattic, the company’s Chief Executive Matt Mullenweg said in an interview. The San Francisco company has a stable of brands focused on online publishing, including longform site Longreads, comment-filtering service Akismet, and avatar-managing service Gravatar.

Yahoo had paid about $1.1 billion for Tumblr in 2013 when it was one of several fast-growing internet startups. Tumblr failed to generate meaningful revenue for Yahoo, prompting the company to write down the site’s value by $230 million in 2016.

A decision last year by Verizon to ban adult content on Tumblr alienated some users.

Mr. Mullenweg said his company intends to maintain the existing policy that bans adult content. He said he has long been a Tumblr user and sees the site as complementary to WordPress.com. “It’s just fun,” he said of Tumblr. “We’re not going to change any of that.”

Tumblr has a strong mobile interface and dashboard where users follow other blogs, he said. Executives will look for ways WordPress.com and Tumblr can share services and functionality.

Revenue within Verizon Media Group, formerly called Oath, was $1.8 billion in the second quarter, down 2.9% from a year earlier. The company said during its quarterly call with analysts that it remains focused on news, finance, sports, entertainment and mail products within the media business, including new HuffPost and Yahoo finance subscription services.

Verizon last year booked a $4.5 billion accounting charge related to the unit and it has struggled with declining desktop advertising revenue and a digital advertising market dominated by behemoths like Alphabet Inc. ’s Google.

—Benjamin Mullin contributed to this article.
Write to Sarah Krouse at sarah.krouse@wsj.com
Copyright ©2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


2 Responses to “Automattic To Buy Tumbler from Verizon”

  1. jvlivs said

    And I had recently gave the brass ring one last tug as far as Tumblr goes. Originally I left them because of their overtly published NSFW content. Now that they’ve cleaned house in recent years, I kinda started over with a clean slate.

    Still ain’t the same, tho. But I keep plugging along NMW.

    Who knows? This might be (one of) the greatest acquisitions since Daimler-Benz took over Chrysler in ’98, or when WWF (Now WWE) bought out WCW in 2001, and many other consolidations/conglomerates that have taken place over the past 20 years…

    As the aphorism is so eloquently observed, “time will tell, and time tells all”!


    • Warm Southern Breeze said

      And indeed, it will!

      It seems to me, that some (corporations and individuals) are still seeking a voice, and hoping to find a way to make communicating easier.

      I don’t think it could get any more simple, or democratic than it already is. It’s easy enough to “say something” somewhere online, where literally, the entire world can see/read/watch -and- participate/interact.

      With its 140-character limit, Twitter was once thought of as a “micro-blog” and was hot as a firecracker in Japan, where that limit – because of Japanese language characteristics – was able to “say more” than could English/Latin-based languages. But now, it has turned into a mud-slinging free-for-all venue with more drama than a telenovela and trailer park soap opera combined.

      Frankly, I’ve quit SoMe (social media) for that reason. And, I’m very glad I did, once news of how abused and gamed it (Facebook) has been by Cambridge Analytica, and our nation’s enemies, namely Russia. And then, there’s the entire privacy invasion thing. Forget the kids. Congress MUST act, for a variety of good reasons; but under this administration, has shown no sign of anything other than being yet another attention-seeking, self-centered, narcissistic carnival barker pseudo-reality show.

      Liked by 1 person

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