Technology

Tumblr to get third owner in six years

Parent of WordPress buys beleaguered platform

SAN FRANCISCO - Tumblr, the blogging site that has been a hub for the internet's most weird, wonderful and occasionally worrisome content, is getting yet another new home.

Verizon said Monday it has agreed to sell Tumblr to Automattic, the parent company of Wordpress.com. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The move will make Automattic the third company to own Tumblr in just six years.

"Tumblr is one of the Web's most iconic brands," Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg said in a statement. "It is an essential venue to share new ideas, cultures and experiences, helping millions create and build communities around their shared interests.

Yahoo acquired Tumblr for $1.1 billion in 2013, making it the largest acquisition of former CEO Marissa Mayer's tenure. It was an ambitious bet to revive Yahoo's fortunes by attracting a younger generation of hyper-engaged users.

Mayer promised at the time "not to screw it up." By 2016, however, Yahoo was forced to write down most of Tumblr's acquisition value. Part of that writedown stemmed from Yahoo's struggle to meet an ambitious $100 million sales goal for Tumblr.

In 2017, Yahoo — and Tumblr — were officially acquired by Verizon. But this year, Verizon has cut staff from its media properties as it rethinks its investment in content and digital advertising.

In a statement Monday, Verizon Media CEO Guru Gowrappan said the deal to sell off Tumblr was "the culmination of a thoughtful, thorough and strategic process."


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