The New York Times has agreed to purchase the sports website The Athletic for $ 550 million. According to people familiar with the issue, the newspaper was the biggest acquisition in almost 30 years as it competes to increase subscribers.
The acquisition will bring The Athletic’s 1.2 million digital subscribers to the New York Times, enabling CEO Meredith Levien to reach the company’s goal of 10 million subscribers by 2025. By the end of the third quarter, the group reported 8.3 million people.
Based in San Francisco, The Athletic was founded in 2016 and employs hundreds of sports writers from local newspapers that specialize in full-time beat reports primarily on US and UK professional and college teams. increase. Alex Mather, one of the co-founders of The Athletic, Told the New York Times In 2017, he said, “We will wait for all local newspapers to come out and continue to bleed until the end.”
It’s unclear how athletics will co-exist with the New York Times’ sports sector, according to people familiar with the matter. Members of the newspaper’s sports staff had not been briefed on the acquisition as of Thursday morning.
The losing athletics initially sought $ 800 million in sales. This is the price that multiple suitors considered too high.
Still, the $ 550 million price tag athletics assigns higher value than other digital media groups in recent transactions. Athletic is reportedly expected to generate $ 77 million in revenue in 2021 and seven times more revenue. Axel Springer acquired Politico last year for about $ 1 billion. This was about five times the annual revenue. In recent funding, Axios is valued at $ 430 million, which is also five times the annual revenue.
The New York Times has made other recent acquisitions, including the acquisition of the product review website Wirecutter in 2016. Reported $ 30 million.. In 2020, the company acquired Serial Productions, the group behind its eponymous podcast, for $ 25 million. However, according to Sentieo data, this is the largest acquisition the newspaper has made since purchasing The Boston Globe in 1993.
The New York Times has recently built the world’s largest online subscriber base for news, supported by the enthusiastic news cycle of the Trump administration and the growing number of culinary and gaming product subscriptions.
When asked about negotiations with athletics last year, Levian said: And we continually appreciate the opportunity to do that. “
The information first reported on the transaction. The New York Times and The Athletic did not respond to requests for comment.
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