Mon, Aug 12, 2019

Verizon is selling blogging site Tumblr to the owner of WordPress for a 'nominal' amount of money

Automattic, the parent company of publishing site WordPress, is planning to purchase blogging site Tumblr from Verizon for an undisclosed amount, according to a Wall Street Journal report Monday.

The price of the acquisition is unclear, but the report stated it was a "nominal amount" compared to the $1 billion price that Tumblr fetched when Yahoo acquired it in 2013.

Automattic will take on 200 Tumblr employees as part of its deal with Verizon.

The deal marks the latest change of ownership for Tumblr, a social-media infused blogging platform that at one time ranked among the web's marquee properties. Launched in New York in 2007 by enterpreneur David Karp, Tumblr quickly became popular among artists and writers for its niche culture and easy-to-use services.

Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg told WSJ that he intends to keep the ban in place, according to the report. Automattic oversees several publishing companies in addition to WordPress, including long-form site Longreads, a comment filtering and tracking service, and an avatar generator.

Tumblr was acquired in 2013 by struggling internet portal Yahoo, which hoped Tumblr's younger users could revive its fortunes. But Yahoo's $1.1 billion purchase price was deemed excessive even at the time, given that Tumblr barely generated any revenue. And as Tumblr's popularity faded in the folowing years, as larger sites from Reddit to Facebook proved more adept at attract and retaining traffic, Yahoo was forced to write off hundreds of millions of dollars for its acquistion.

Verizon inherited the popular blogging site through its acquisition of Yahoo in 2017. And its fate only worsened from there: Many devoted Tumblr users who turned to the site for its lax rules around hosting adult content were outraged over Verizon's decision to ban all adult content from the site in 2018.

Verizon, formerly known as Oath, has been reportedly shopping around for a buyer for Tumblr since May as part of the ongoing restructuring of the media portion of its business that includes HuffPost, AOL, and TechCrunch, among others.

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