Mashable, the digital-media player that like many of its peers has refocused on growing its video biz, has engaged in “extensive” discussions with ProSiebenSat.1 about a sale, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The unprofitable New York-based company had been trying to raised additional investment from a strategic investor but is “now leaning toward an all-out sale, the Journal reported, citing unnamed sources. Viacom “explored a deal” with Mashable, but that didn’t move forward, according to the WSJ. Time Warner’s Turner, which led Mashable’s $15 million round last year, hasn’t been interested in acquiring full control.
The Journal report didn’t include proposed deal terms for a potential ProSieben takeover of Mashable. With its funding round last year, Mashable was valued at around $250 million.
For ProSieben, the addition of Mashable would augment its push into digital media. The German broadcast and media giant owns Studio71, the digital network formed from its acquisition of Collective Digital Studio. ProSieben’s investments in the space include a stake in online-video aggregator Pluto TV.
Mashable, founded as a blog by Pete Cashmore in 2005 when he was a teen in Scotland, has seen an exodus of top execs recently. That has included chief strategy officer Adam Ostrow, who departed last month for TV broadcaster Tegna, and chief revenue officer Ed Wise (now CRO of Romeo Power). Mashable laid off about 30 employees last year after the Series C funding, including longtime editor-in-chief Jim Roberts and previous CRO Seth Rogin.
In 2016, Mashable recorded a net loss of $10 million as revenue rose 36% to $42 million, according to the Journal report. The company is targeting $50 million in revenue for 2017 and “may break even,” per the WSJ.