The New York Times to acquire sports news site The Athletic

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The New York Times will acquire sports news site The Athletic, the companies said Thursday, the latest move by the iconic American newspaper in its diversification strategy. “The acquisition of The Athletic allows us to be a global leader in sports journalism and to offer English speakers around the world yet another reason to look to The Times Company for their daily news and life needs. Said Meredith Kopit Levien, director of the New York Times. in a report.

The news company will pay $ 550 million to The Athletic, which has become a leader in sports coverage over the past six years, taking advantage of a tough environment for local media.

The transaction – first reported by online tech publication The Information – is expected to close in the first quarter.

Levien said the addition will help The Times reach its goal of more than 10 million subscribers, up from eight million currently.

Founded in January 2016 by Alex Mather and Adam Hansmann, The Athletic had around 1.2 million subscribers by the end of 2021, the statement said.

It has grown at a rapid pace, launching a UK version in 2019 and partnering with Australian TV group Optus Sport last year.

He has also produced numerous podcasts, including “The Lead”, his most popular. But media say he struggled to achieve profitability and was considering a change in strategy.

In recent years, The New York Times has used targeted acquisitions to diversify its audience by publishing everything from recipes to podcasts.

In 2016, he purchased product testing and recommendation site Wirecutter, and in June 2020 acquired Serial Productions, the studio behind the successful podcast of the same name.

According to Crunchbase, The Athletic has raised a total of $ 139.5 million from investors since its inception, and was valued between $ 500 million and $ 1 billion when it was last raised in January 2020.

Athletic will become an independent subsidiary of The New York Times, and the founders will remain co-chairs, with Mather also serving as chief executive and Hansmann as chief operating officer, the statement said.

They called the deal an “exciting step” in their goal “to bring fans closer to the teams, players and leagues they love through in-depth and immersive journalism and storytelling.”

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