The New York Times has agreed to acquire Athletic in an all-cash deal valued at the sports media startup for $550 million, a source familiar with the deal confirmed to Nerdshala.
Why this matters: It’s a big win for The Athletic, which had been shopping for a deal for months. The subscription-based sports media company was under pressure to sell in light of how much? cash it’s lost in the last two years.
- Athletic co-founders Alex Mather and Adam Hansman will remain in place following the deal, which is expected to be announced on Thursday.
- Sources told Nerdshala in May that The Times contacted The Athletic. report good About a possible deal between Athletic and Nerdshala in March.
- Information previously reported About the final deal price.
Catch up quickly: Athletic was founded six years ago and has raised nearly $140 million to date. It last raised $50 million in January of 2020, with its latest valuation at around $500 million.
- The company has hired hundreds of journalists across the US and UK to produce long-form journalism about sports. In recent months, it has started experimenting with advertising and investing more in podcasts.
- Like most digital media companies, The Athletic laid off staff early on during the pandemic, but has since hired. The company employs approximately 600 people full-time, including about 400 editorial staff.
Be smart: The deal makes sense for The Times, which is sitting on $1 billion in cash and trying to grow its subscriber base.
- The company has a total of 8.4 million subscriptions, of which 7.6 million are digital only.
- The Times has said it wants to reach 10 million paid digital-only subscribers by 2025. With Athletic adding to its subscription portfolio, it is well on course to meet those goals ahead of time.
big picture: There has been a massive consolidation in the digital media space over the past few months. Vox Media has acquired Group Nine Media. BuzzFeed acquired the complex and went public through a SPAC months after it acquired HuffPost. IAC’s Dotdash acquired Meredith last month.
what to watch: The New York Times has a mixed track record when it comes to deals.
- This have bought The Boston Globe in 1993 for $1.1 billion, only Sell It was in 2013 for about $70 million. It have bought About.com bought it in 2005 for $410 million in cash, and seven years later sold it to Barry Diller’s IAC for approximately $300 million in cash.
- Its recent acquisitions, such as audimoserial productions, HelloSociety, False love And Wire cutter, has been very small in scope.