The Huffington Post has denied it is in sale talks with Yahoo!, but has not ruled out a closer partnership discussions. Last week TechCrunch’s quoted sources saying that the two companies were “in negotiations over a deep content partnership”, but added that Yahoo’s desired goal was to Huffington Post outright.
Arianna Huffington, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the popular US aggregator and blog, said: “We are not in negotiations with Yahoo! for the sale of huffpost, but we are exploring various content partnerships. Yahoo! is the place to come online to find out what happening in the world, your local community and friends and family – the world in your world. It really is the online destination for superior content,” she explained.
After 18 months atop Yahoo!, Chief Executive Carol Bartz appears to be done with cutting costs and ready to address the site’s No. 1 problem: trying to reverse the 25 percent drop in time visitors spend at the Web portal that has occurred on her watch.
In addressing the problem, Bartz has created a wish list of hot companies she’d like to partner with or buy, sources tell The Post.
After buying freelance news site Associated Content for $100 million and courting location-based “check-in” service Foursquare, Bartz has turned her attention to the Huffington Post, the five-year-old “Internet newspaper” co-founded by Arianna Huffington, according to published reports.
Bartz said she had already earmarked several companies she wanted to buy to help her achieve this ambition and last month completed the purchase of Associated Content.
A deal between Yahoo! and The Huffington Post was thought to have been logical as The Huffington Post would increase its audience base, while Yahoo! would gain a huge amount of content.
However, Huffington has denied a sale is on the cards and did not give any more detail on what type of content partnerships it was exploring.
According the April comScore figures, The Huffington Post attracted 26 million unique visitors worldwide. It is valued at approximately $125 million, as per its last round of funding in December 2008, during which it raised $25 million.
Erick Schonfeld, co-editor of TechCrunch, a technology specialist site, said: “Buying the Huffington Post would not be cheap… The company is on track to generate $60 million in revenues next year and $100 million in 2012. It still has cash in the bank, and could turn profitable by early next year. If you figure an acquisition multiple of 6X or 7X next year’s revenues, Yahoo would have to pay at least $360 million for HuffPo today, or much more a year from now.
“If Yahoo wants to focus on being a media company, there are worse things it could do than buy HuffPo. But is it really worth that much? A content deal lets Yahoo dip its toes in the water and find out.”
Huffington, in an interview with The Telegraph last year showed her strong attachment to the site, calling it her “final calling”, as it allowed her to write, be close to the beating heart of the White House and challenge authority on every level.
“This is it for me now. I have never felt like this before. All the things that I love have come together in one place. I have no other career plans.”
At the time of the interview Huffington said she had no plans to expand the site outside of the US.