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Verizon Sells Tumblr To WordPress, Owned by Automattic Inc

Six years after Yahoo purchased Tumblr for $1 billion, it is planning to sell the once-dominating blogging platform. Automattic Inc., the parent company of WordPress has agreed to take the service off from Verizon. As per the article in The Wall Street Journal, the terms of the deal are still undisclosed, but the number is nominal as compared to its original asking price. Axios reported that the price for the platform is below $20 million, which is just a fraction of its price tag in 2013.

Being the most popular platform, the past 5 years were pretty hard for Tumblr. Sites like Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, and Twitter are giving a tough competition to the platform. Recently, the decision taken to ban pron from the website has made a huge impact regarding the downfall of the platform. According to Sensor Tower, the first-time users average of Tumblr’s mobile app declined by 33% year-over-year last quarter.

“Tumblr is one of the Web’s most iconic brands,” Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg said of the news. “It is an essential venue to share new ideas, cultures, and experiences, helping millions create and build communities around their shared interests. We are excited to add it to our lineup, which already includes WordPress .com, WooCommerce, Jetpack, Simplenote, Longreads, and more.”

The news did not come as a surprise. In May, Verizon was looking for a new owner for the site it inherited through its acquisition of Yahoo. Tumblr was Yahoo’s largest acquisition, according to CEO Marissa Mayer. Tumblr was not a great fit for Yahoo and even worse for Verizon, which later made the platform merging into its short-lived Oath business and later the Verizon Media Group.

Automattic Inc was a better match.

According to analysts, Automattic was a better match. The company owns WordPress.com, the internet’s most popular publishing platform, along with Jetpack and Simplenote. The company will take on 200 staffers as a part of the deal.

“We couldn’t be more excited to be joining a team that has a similar mission. Many of you know WordPress.com, Automattic’s flagship product. WordPress.com and Tumblr were both early pioneers among blogging platforms,” Tumblr fittingly wrote in a blog post. “Automattic shares our vision to build passionate communities around shared interests and to democratize publishing so that anyone with a story can tell it, especially when they come from under-heard voices and marginalized communities.”

“Today’s announcement is the culmination of a thoughtful, thorough and strategic process,” Verizon Media CEO Guru Gowrappan said in a statement. “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.”

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