WordPress parent company Automattic Inc. to buy Tumblr from Verizon: WSJ

WordPress parent company Automattic Inc. to buy Tumblr from Verizon: WSJ

Verizon Communications has found a buyer for Tumblr, the blogging platform it acquired in 2017 as part of its deal to buy Yahoo. Automattic Inc., the company behind the popular web development platform WordPress, has agreed to purchase Tumblr for an undisclosed amount, according to The Wall Street Journal, and will add Tumblr’s approximate 200 employees to the Automattic staff.

Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg told The Wall Street Journal the acquisition was the largest ever for his company — both in price and head count. As a longtime user of Tumblr, Mullenweg said he sees it as complementary to WordPress.com.

“It’s just fun,” Mullenweg told the Wall Street Journal, “We’re not going to change any of that.”

Why we should care

According to the Wall Street Journal, Automattic executives plan to find ways WordPress.com and Tumblr can share services and functionality. As the world’s leading CMS platform (a 2018 Kinsta report showed WordPress owns 60% market share among content management systems), adding more functionality and features to WordPress’ offerings should benefit marketers charged with managing WordPress websites.

The move to sell Tumblr also reflects Verizon’s dwindling digital business. While the company still owns a number of web properties, including HuffPost, AOL, TechCrunch and Yahoo’s multiple news sites, eMarketer reported earlier this year that the company is expected to take less than three percent (2.9%) of the digital ad market by the end of this year, a drop from 3.4% last year.

More on the news

  • The Wall Street first reported in May that Verizon Communications was looking for a buyer to acquire Tumblr.
  • Mullenweg said Automattic will keep Tumblr’s existing policy banning adult content, a decision made last year by Verizon Communications.
  • Yahoo purchased Tumblr in 2013 for $1.1 billion, a deal that was expected to increase Yahoo’s total audience by 50% at the time.

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