Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Is GigaOM Buying paidContent?

Who wants to pay for paidContent? We’ll find out soon, it seems, because the sales process for the pioneering blog and its parent company ContentNext appears to be wrapping up.

But if you were making a bet, you’d get good odds that the most likely buyer will be GigaOM, another pioneering tech/media business.

People familiar with paidContent believe GigaOM is in the last stages of a deal to purchase the site and its related businesses from Guardian Media Group, which bought the company in 2008 and then put it on the block last fall.

I asked the Guardian about the sale on Friday, and a PR rep told me that “the sale process is ongoing. Beyond that we would not comment.” Last night, I corresponded with GigaOM founder Om Malik, via text message, but he didn’t respond to my question about a potential acquisition.

That’s certainly not the same as a confirmation. But there’s some pleasing logic to a GigaOM/paidContent rollup. Both businesses started as influential one-man blogging operations, then added staff and moved into related operations such as conferences. (Full disclosure: AllThingsD competes with both companies.)

PaidContent founder Rafat Ali left his company a couple years after selling to the Guardian. Malik has sold off chunks of his business to venture capitalists such as True Ventures (where he is now a venture partner) and Reed Elsevier Ventures, who have invested a total of $15 million.

Depending on the price, you could find other strategic buyers that could be interested in paidContent. But I’m told that two of the most logical buyers — WebMediaBrands, which has been stocking up on tech industry publications including Inside Networks, and SAY Media, which recently bought tech blog ReadWriteWeb in December – aren’t in the running.

Other possibles not in the bidding, according to sources: Jim Bankoff’s Vox Media, which owns The Verge tech site; and Dow Jones (which owns this site).

The only other big bidder to consider would be AOL, which owns Engadget and bought TechCrunch in 2010. Sources there said a bid was unlikely, too.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald