CNN is in the midst of the potential acquisition of Mashable, a website largely devoted to coverage of social media and technology, The New York Times reports.
The Time Warner-owned news brand is in “advanced talks” with Mashable for a potential buy, sources told the Times while also cautioning that such a deal might not come to fruition.
Mashable, which launched in 2005, has made a name covering startups and social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, in addition to tech-industry news. If CNN.com were to acquire the site, it could gain more prominence — and credibility — within the internet startup community.
Founded in 2005 when Mr. Cashmore was 19 years old and living in Scotland, Mashable.com has chronicled the rise of social networking, and has expanded to cover business and entertainment. In time, the company has hired veteran news writers and now syndicates its stories on other mainstream news sites, from ABC News to USA Today. Mashable is now based in New York.
Last month, Mashable drew 5.6 million unique U.S. visitors, according to comScore, roughly comparable to the 5.4 million that visited the tech news site Business Insider, run by Henry Blodget. AOL Inc.’s TechCrunch drew 3.2 million.
Mr. Cashmore has had a relationship with CNN for almost two years. Mashable contributes content to CNN.com and he also writes a weekly column.
“We do not engage in speculation about our business and we aren’t commenting on these reports,” a CNN.com spokesman told THR on Monday.
Meanwhile, CNN-Mashable chatter has been widespread at the South by Southwest tech-and-entertainment confab in Austin, Texas, where both companies have been hosting events. There has been no official confirmation as to the talks, and CNN denied a Sunday-night report by Reuters that an announcement could come Tuesday.
CNN.com previously acquired Zite, a web app that curates content for users on iPads and iPhones, for somewhere in the ballpark of $20-to-$25 million; Mashable has forged content partnerships with such outlets as ABC News and CNN, with which the site has a syndication deal.