It is rumored that Mashable, the hot tech news site whose articles are viewed on average 50 million times per month, is in talks with CNN to buy the site for $200 million. Hard to believe a website that was started in founder Pete Cashmore's parents' house in Banchory, Scotland in 2005 while Cashmore, then age 19, recovered from complications following an appendectomy could be so highly sought after.
The Rise of Mashable
Today, Cashmore is 26 and well-known name in the tech world. He was named a Time Magazine top 100 in 2010, Forbes Magazine Web Celeb top 25, and the UK's Telegraph named him Briton of the Year in 2010. Last year, he was named a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader.
He attributes his rise to the top to the simple fact he was an industry outsider when he started out. He saw the need for someone to explain to the average person how to use the latest technology or website in a clear, concise, and fun way. He started discussing social networking on his blog, and when he began making a little money from ads displayed on his blog, hired another writer. He realized this was a serious business, and made the decision to drop out of college to devote all of his time to the site.
Fast forward to today, and Mashable employs over 40 people withoffices in New York and San Francisco, and covers a wide range of tech and internet related topics. From breaking news on other tech companies or start-ups to the features of the latest hot smartphone to be released to the market, and even the latest gripe about one of Facebook's myriad of changes, all topics are covered. If it's tech and it's important, it's probably on Mashable.
The Growth of CNN
CNN, following in the footsteps of other news media organizations, is attempting to expand the digital side of its business to fit in to the hottest thing in the internet world: social media. CNN knows the only way to remain strong through this period is to grow that aspect of their business, and is likely why they purchased Zite in August 2011. The iPad news app was purchased for a little more than $25 million, offering users a way to read their news in a magazine-like format.
Despite growing this sector of their business, CNN has declined to comment on the possible deal with Mashable. Mashable has taken the same tight-lipped stance.
Whether the rumors are true or not, Cashmore would stand to collect a decent chunk of change if the deal goes through. What exactly will CNN do with Mashable, and why do they need it? It's not like they're struggling financially. What motivated them to consider the purchase of this company in the first place? Some speculate they are looking to attract a younger, more hip crowd who rely on social media to read their news stories. With a Twitter following of 2.7 million followers, Mashable will bring the tech-savy “cool people” right to their doorstep.
It will be interesting to see what direction CNN would take Mashable if the deal does go down. Will they try to change the site and alienate their readership, or will they continue with business as usual? Fans hope nothing changes, as so often happens when a large “uncool” corporation snatches up the popular “cool” company. Only time will tell.