The hot rumor around SXSW is CNN is in talks to buy Pete Cashmore’s Mashable. Cashmore dismissed the idea that Mashable would be acquired this week as “untrue.” Still, many — including WSJ, NY Times — insist talks are underway, though early. As we know, the more steadfast the denial, the more likely the rumor is true.
I think this would be a great match.
Don’t think social media and social networking matters? Current word is the valuation would be in the $200 million range. Not quite Ariana money, but if a deal happens that would be about 8x the valuation of AOL’s acquisition of TechCrunch.
CNN has long been regarded as revolutionizing television news, introducing the 7/24 cycle in 1980 that we all now take for granted.
Mashable revolutionized social media coverage – in a way creating a new media culture that both creates and consumes hyper-micro content.
The deal would bring CNN a massive number of highly prized younger fans who’d no doubt follow Cashmore (who writes a social media column for CNN) and his staff to the promised land. By my last count, Mashable has over 840,000 Facebook likes, and 2.7M Twitter followers. According to Alexa, mashable.com is the 202nd biggest site in the world and 132nd in the US (CNN is 61 and 19, respectively). And, who knows, maybe Ted Turner fashions Pete Cashmore as a younger version of himself.
A transaction would likely draw almost as much buzz as when AOL made a monster-sized $315 million deal for The Huffington Post. New media shock and awe.
If Mashable is to give up its independence, then I can’t think of a better suitor than CNN.
But, for how much?