GigaOm Buys PaidContent

Tech site buys the assets of ContentNext Media from Guardian News

(Updated: 1:57 p.m. PST)

GigaOm is buying ContentNext Media, the owner of the digital media site paidContent, from Guardian News & Media for an undisclosed sum.

The deal has been rumored, following a report by AllThingsD earlier this week. 

"We’re eager to expand our coverage of social and digital media editorially, in our research and at our events. PaidContent is the best chronicler of the media industry, and by blending their coverage with ours, we hope to watch this fast-changing industry ever more closely," GigaOm founder Om Malik wrote in a blog post announcing the purchase on Wednesday. 

By snapping up ContentNext, GigaOm also gets rights to not just paidContent, but also its related sites MocoNews.net, contentSutra and paidContent:UK.

The two sites will have a combined staff of 20 editors and writers. GigaOm boasts an online audience of more than 4.5 million monthly unique visitors and paidContent's network of sites draws roughly 500,000 unique visits monthly, according to Quantcast.com.

In November, Guardian Media said that ContentNext was up for sale, with reports pegging the asking price at between $15 to $20 million.

Mediabistro was among the parties who expressed interest in buying paidContent, but not for anywhere close to its asking price. Neither the Guardian nor Gigaom has yet responded to a request for further comment on the deal.

Guardian News & Media acquired ContentNext in July 2008, reportedly for as high as $30 million. That number was later disputed, with other outlets reporting that figure hinged on the most optimistic earn-outs and was in fact on the order of $6.5 million. 

At the time, Guardian News & Media said the deal would help it enhance and expand its coverage of media and technology and would ramp up its U.S. presence.  

Malik said that the paidContent acquisition would allow GigaOm to bolster its presence in New York and help increase its footprint in Europe.

As part of the deal, a representative of Guardian News & Media will join GigaOm's board of directors as an observer and will take a minority stake in the company. 

PaidContent's Staci Kramer will remain as editor of the site, while Ernie Sander, head of ContentNext's editorial operations, will become the executive editor of the combined companies' online editorial operations. 

PaidContent was founded by Rafat Ali in 2002. Ali has since left the site, but he is on the board of GigaOm. 

In his post, touting the acquisition, Malik said that the two companies share a similar ethos.

"GigaOm’s core belief is that as connectivity becomes ubiquitous, it changes everything from society to business to we the people," Malik wrote. "PaidContent from the very beginning has been built on the idea that connectedness is and will change media. It makes perfect sense for us to team up."