Verizon Offloads Tumblr, Refocuses Media Unit

Verizon sold blogging website Tumblr to WordPress parent Automattic, as the US operator refocuses its media unit around original content.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said the sale price was a “nominal amount” compared with the US$1.1 billion Yahoo paid to acquire Tumblr in 2013. Verizon took ownership of the brand when it bought Yahoo in 2017.

WSJ noted about 200 employees will be transferred to Automattic as part of the deal.

Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg called Tumblr “one of the web’s most iconic brands,” adding “it is an essential venue to share new ideas, cultures and experiences, helping millions create and build communities around their shared interests”.

In a statement, Verizon Media CEO Guru Gowrappan said the sale was the “culmination of a thoughtful, thorough and strategic process”.

The transaction comes as Verizon works to strengthen its media business, shifting to focus on original and subscription content.

In Q2, Verizon launched Yahoo Finance Premium and HuffPost Plus, adding subscription options to two of its most popular media brands. However, revenue in the quarter still fell 2.9 per cent year-on-year to US$1.8 billion.-Mobile World Live

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