In a deal that’s been rumored for a while now, The New York Times will reportedly buy The Athletic in a deal valued at $550 million.
That’s according to a report from Jessica Toonkel at The Information.
The New York Times Co has agreed to acquire subscription sports site The Athletic in a deal valued at around $550 million, according to a person familiar with the situation.
The deal is a major acquisition for the Times, giving it a new pocket of subscription customers to the New York Times, which has set an ambitious goal of reaching 10 million subscribers by 2025. As of Sept 30, the Times reported 8.3 million digital and print subscribers.
The Athletic had been flirting with possible buyers for a while now, including previous forays with Axios and the Times that never came to fruition. Now, though, the Times has apparently decided the deal makes sense. The Athletic’s ownership has been raising money and considering an exit for years, and their recent shifts in strategy (especially on the audio side) felt designed to open up new streams of revenue and demonstrate that there’s growth to be had beyond the pure subscription model that had been their calling card since inception.
As for the Times, it’s a move that immediately boosts their subscription base, although it remains to be seen exactly how The Athletic will be folded into their operations. We’ll obviously have more as details emerge. Until then, it’s fun to remember this 2017 interview the Athletic’s founders, Alex Mather and Adam Hansmann, gave The New York Times in which they basically said they wanted to destroy newspapers.
“We will wait every local paper out and let them continuously bleed until we are the last ones standing,” Alex Mather, a co-founder of The Athletic, said in an interview in San Francisco. “We will suck them dry of their best talent at every moment. We will make business extremely difficult for them.”
Not exactly how that turned out.