Uzabase snaps up Quartz in $110m digital news play

Uzabase snaps up digital news channel Quartz in $110m play

Online business-news portal Quartz is welcoming new owners this morning after confirming that Japanese media firm Uzabase had purchased the business for between $75m and $110m.

A key player in APAC, Uzabase is a largely unknown quantity in the West but one that is looking to set to change abruptly now that the Quartz deal has gone ahead, giving it an instant toe-hold in the US.

The deal also represents good value for Quartz in the context of a wider media industry beset by a series of devaluations, most notably Mashable, which sold for a mere $50m in 2017 despite being valued as high as $250m in 2016.

Under the deal Quartz will assume responsibility for the English version of Newspicks, a business news app for consumers, on behalf of Uzabase while continuing to operate its website, emails, apps, bots and Atlas data service as before.

However it will start to levy a fee for access to some of this content to reduce reliance on advertising.

In a statement Quartz co-presidents Kevin J.Delaney and Jay Lauf wrote: “Uzabase’s ambition echoes our own—to build the leading business news brand of this century — and now we are united in this mission along with you, our readers.

“We will soon offer you ways to go even deeper with Quartz’s coverage through subscription products. These will build on and learn from the success that Newspicks has had with similar offerings in Japan. We expect our existing products to remain free, but are very focused on also providing premium content and services alongside them, and have been surveying readers about what else you would value from us.”

Quartz, which has been teasing a subscription service since its acquisition of AI research firm Intelligentsia AI last year, now has 215 employees serving 12 million US readers, generating revenue of $30m in 2016.

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