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Tumblr to be sold to WordPress owner

Business

Verizon has announced a deal to sell Tumblr – the blogging site Yahoo acquired for $US1.1 billion ($A1.6 billion) six years ago – to Automattic, the company that owns and operates online-publishing site WordPress.com.

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Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it’s unlikely to be near what Yahoo originally paid.

Automattic will bring about 200 Tumblr employees on-board with the deal, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news.

Verizon, which bought Yahoo in 2017, had been looking to unload Tumblr for months, the paper previously reported.

Tumblr hosts some 475 million blogs currently, with a blend of text, images and video content, but neither Yahoo nor Verizon were ever able to figure out how to make it a significant revenue-generating destination.

Verizon Media (formerly called Oath) in December of last year decided to ban adult content from Tumblr – a last-gasp effort in trying to make it a safer place for advertising and coming a month after Apple removed Tumblr’s app from its App Store after child porn was discovered in the app.

The move prompted Tumblr’s traffic to drop by nearly one-third.

The site in July 2019 had 381 million total visits, down from 521 million in December 2018, according to Similarweb.

According to Automattic, it has no plans to re-allow porn or other NSFW content on Tumblr.

The deal isn’t officially closed, still subject to usual closing conditions.

Automattic’s businesses, in addition to WordPress.com, include WooCommerce, Jetpack, Simplenote, and Longreads.

-AAP

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