The New York Times has closed the deal to acquire The Athletic for $550 million in cash.
That deal, announced just last month, closed fairly quickly, though presumably both sides were highly motivated and the Times had done plenty of vetting of The Athletic. The Times wanted to add to their subscriber count as quickly as possible, as they had a self-imposed subscriber goal to hit.
Via Marc Tracy at, uh, the New York Times, covering a Q4 earnings call:
The New York Times Company reached its goal of 10 million subscriptions ahead of schedule, the company said Wednesday, aided substantially by the 1.2 million it gained by buying the sports news website The Athletic.The $550 million deal for The Athletic, which was announced last month, was completed on Tuesday, the company said.
It’s kind of funny the Times had to basically spend that money to buy the rest of the subscribers to hit their goal. That’s sort of like buying airline points in order to add to your earned tally. As to how the half-billion dollar deal was able to close so quickly, well, it helps to pay cash:
Then, last month, The Times said it would buy The Athletic, whose 400 journalists cover more than 200 sports teams in the United States, Britain and Europe, in an all-cash deal worth $550 million. The Times said Wednesday that the deal had been financed by “cash on hand,” meaning without borrowing money.
Yeah, that’ll certainly cut out a lot of the moving parts. The Times has a new subscriber goal they’ve given themselves: 15 million subs by 2027. Maybe they’re banking on Wordle’s user base converting to subscribers at some point before then.