No one was surprised when IAC announced it had finally managed to offload the sinking ship that is Newsweek — TheWrap reported a few weeks ago that the deal was imminent. But who ended up buying the once-proud weekly on Saturday was a surprise.
A relatively new company, IBT Media stepped forward as Newsweek's new owners. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, and there are allegations that IBT Media is linked to (and perhaps owned by) religious leader David Jang, whose followers believe he is the second coming of Christ — which IBT's co-founders deny.
There's a lot we still don't know about IBT. Here are five things that we do:
1. IBT's co-founders are ridiculously young: Jonathan Davis, the "chief content officer," is 31. Etienne Uzac, the CEO, turned 30 on Wednesday.
2. They launched IBT Media in 2006 using "personal savings" and a "SBA bank loan." Unlike most newly-launched sites these days, they didn't rely on VCs for financial backing. The company, they claim, became profitable in 2010.
Also read: Newsweek Sold to IBT Media
3. IBT Media's websites get over 30 million unique hits per month. Those sites include IBTimes.com, its flagship, is said to be responsible for about half of that. Those sites are freely available to all — Newsweek will be IBT's first foray into a subscription-based revenue model.
4. IBT Media's speciality is not original reporting. Much like Huffington Post, the vast bulk of IB Times content comes from other sources, aggregated by a large team of young, hungry staffers who write about much more than just "business," as the site's name suggests.
5. IBT Media is expanding. In 2013 along, IBT Media added four new sites: The Latin Times, HollywoodTake and Medical Daily and video platform Bizu.tv. It'll soon add at least two more: www.newsweek.com should return and an unnamed business-to-business publishing venture is set to bow this fall.