Rich Skrenta, CEO of Topix, which I wrote of glowingly here, called me earlier today to break the news: His company is selling a 75% stake to three major newspaper businesses: Gannett, Knight Ridder, and the Tribune Company. None of the new companies will have the ability to control the company, and this alone says volumes about how Web 2.0 is terrifying the newspaper industry. They can’t even buy their competition outright!
Rich would not give me a ballpark valuation, but given that he has real revenues and a scalable model with OEM potential (in terms of optimizing contextual ads and local), I’d wager it was pretty good – better than Flickr, perhaps.
I’m just in from a few whirlwind days at PCForum, which had a lot of search in it. I’ll be digesting this news, as well as PCForum thoughts, over the next few days. Meanwhile, the Topix release is in extended entry.
GANNETT, KNIGHT RIDDER AND TRIBUNE ACQUIRE A 75% STAKE IN TOPIX.NET
Combination of Technology, Media Assets and Reach
to Power Growth of Topix.net
CHICAGO, McLEAN, VA. and SAN JOSE, CALIF, March 23, 2005 .Topix.net
announced today that Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI), Knight-Ridder,
Inc. (NYSE: KRI) and Tribune Company (NYSE: TRB) jointly have acquired
a 75 percent stake in Topix.net. Ownership is split evenly, with
each media company owning 25 percent and the Topix.net founders
retaining a 25 percent stake. Financial terms of the transaction
were not disclosed.
Topix.net continuously monitors breaking news from over 10,000 online
sources and categorizes daily news content into over 300,000 topics,
24 hours a day. Topix.net will operate as an editorially independent,
stand-alone company managed by Topix.net.s executive team. Topix.net
will use content and funding from Gannett, Knight Ridder and
Tribune to expand and refine its NewsRank. technology, services and
“This transaction provides us with the resources to be the best
place to connect to a very wide range of news on the Web,” said Rich
Skrenta, CEO and co-founder of Topix.net. .We all serve the news
enthusiast, so it.s a natural partnership. Gannett, Knight Ridder and
Tribune generate valuable online content and Topix.net is dedicated
to making that content easily found. By believing in the potential of
our ideas and technology, they have made an investment in the future,
and we.re thrilled to be a part of it..
Topix.net features links to news and information from more than 10,000
news sources including newspapers, magazines, radio, television
stations and Web logs. Topix.net distributes news through its Web
site, RSS feeds and email news alerts. It syndicates its content
through partnerships and tens of thousands of Web sites that host
news feeds from Topix.net.
Topix.net uses its NewsRank. technology to deliver highly relevant
news, using concept, instead of simple keyword searches. It delivers
published news stories organized by ZIP code, industry and hundreds
of thousands of topics.
.People want the news that.s relevant to them . where they live, the
business that they are in, the topics they care about. Topix.net.s
technology will leverage the media assets and broad reach of our
three companies in entirely new ways,. said Jack Williams,senior
vice president diversified business and development at Gannett. .We
are extremely pleased to partner with Topix.net to grow and develop
its service and help audiences find the news they want online..
Collectively, Gannett, Knight Ridder and Tribune operate more than 140
newspaper Web sites with nearly 30 million unique visitors monthly. The
companies have partnered together in other joint ventures such as
ShopLocal.com and CareerBuilder.com.
Founded in 2002 with the specific mission of providing users with the
ability to quickly and easily find targeted news on the Internet,
Topix.net is a news aggregator with unique technology to find and
categorize news into 300,000 topics, from Autos to ZIP code level local
news. Topix.net distributes content via partnerships with Citysearch,
Ask Jeeves, My Yahoo!, Bloglines, Metro Newspapers, Newsgator, Findory,
Wondir, Infospace, Link Silicon Valley and HelloMetro.com.
Gannett Co., Inc. is a leading international news and information
company that publishes 101 daily newspapers in the USA, including
USA TODAY, the nation.s largest-selling daily newspaper. The
company also owns in excess of 750 non-daily publications in the
USA and USA WEEKEND, a weekly newspaper magazine. Gannett subsidiary
Newsquest is the United Kingdom.s second largest regional newspaper
company. Newsquest publishes more than 300 titles, including 17
daily newspapers, and a network of prize-winning Web sites. Gannett
also operates 21 television stations in the United States and is an
Internet leader with sites sponsored by its TV stations and newspapers
including USATODAY.com, one of the most popular news sites on the Web.
Knight Ridder (NYSE: KRI) is the nation.s second-largest newspaper
publisher, with products in print and online. The company publishes 31
daily newspapers in 28 U.S. markets, with a readership of 9.0 million
daily and 12.7 million Sunday. Knight Ridder also has investments
in a variety of Internet and technology companies and two newsprint
companies. The company.s Internet operation, Knight Ridder Digital,
develops and manages the company.s online properties. It is the
founder and operator of Real Cities (www.RealCities.com), the
largest national network of city and regional Web sites in more
than 105 U.S. markets. Knight Ridder and Knight Ridder Digital are
headquartered in San Jose, Calif.
Tribune (NYSE: TRB) is one of the country.s premier media companies,
operating businesses in broadcasting and publishing. It reaches more
than 80 percent of U.S. households and is the only media organization
with television stations, newspapers and websites in the nation.s
top three markets. In publishing, Tribune operates 14 leading
daily newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune,
Newsday and Spanish-language Hoy, plus a wide range of targeted
publications. The company.s broadcasting group operates 26 television
stations; Superstation WGN on national cable; WGN-AM in Chicago;
and the Chicago Cubs baseball team. Popular news and information
websites complement Tribune.s print and broadcast properties and
extend the company.s nationwide audience.