Verizon Offloads Tumblr to WordPress Owner Automattic
Multiple reports suggest Verizon let the blogging site go for less than $3 million, marking an incredible drop from its 2013 valuation.
US telecoms giant Verizon has agreed to sell Tumblr to Automattic Inc, the owner of WordPress, just two years after it acquired the social media site.
Tumblr was acquired by Verizon in 2017 amid its multi-billion-dollar purchase of Yahoo, but earlier this year it was reported the telecoms behemoth was exploring potential offers for the site.
The exact price that Tumblr has been sold for is unconfirmed. However, multiple reports suggest Verizon let the blogging site go for less than $3 million (£2.4m) – marking an incredible drop from its 2013 valuation.
Yahoo paid around $1.1 billion for Tumblr in 2013, yet three years later the company revalued the site at around $230 million and acknowledged that it was failing to generate significant revenue.
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Commenting on the acquisition, Verizon Media CEO Guru Gowrappen said: “Today’s announcement is the culmination of a thoughtful, thorough and strategic process.
“Tumblr is a marquee brand that has started movements, allowed for true identities to blossom and become home to many creative communities and fandoms. We are proud of what the team has accomplished and are happy to have found the perfect partner in Automattic, whose expertise and track record will unlock new and exciting possibilities for Tumblr and its users.”
Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg added: “Tumblr is one of the web’s most iconic brands. It is an essential venue to share new ideas, cultures and experiences, helping millions create and build communities around their shared interests.”
Automattic currently owns a varied portfolio of sites and platforms, including WordPress.com, Jetpack, Simplenote and WooCommerce.
The social media site still boasts a strong community and is home to millions of personal blogs. Once a haven for creatives, content creators and also the LGBT community, Tumblr’s popularity has dipped in recent years. Social media sites such as Instagram and YouTube appear to have absorbed a large portion of its user base.
To add insult to injury, in December last year Verizon announced it would ban adult content on the platform – a move which sparked intense criticism and a boycott from its loyal user base. This move followed a temporary ban from the Apple App Store amid revelations that child pornography was circulated on the site.
Although Automattic permits adult content on its WordPress platform, the company said it has “no plans” to reverse the ban.
Tumblr isn’t the only major Yahoo-owned company to be offloaded by Verizon. In April 2019 photo-sharing platform Flickr was sold to SmugMug.