Automattic’s Acquisition Of Tumblr: Details About The Deal You Should Know

By Annie Baker ● August 15, 2019
  • WordPress parent company Automattic announced it acquired Tumblr from Verizon Media. The terms of the deal were undisclosed, but rumor has it that the deal was for around $3 million.

Earlier this week, it was announced that WordPress parent company Automattic announced it acquired Tumblr from Verizon Media. Verizon inherited Tumblr when it acquired Yahoo for $4.8 billion in June 2017. And Yahoo had originally purchased Tumblr for $1.1 billion back in May 2013. The deal was undisclosed, but rumor has it that it was for around $3 million.

Launched by David Karp in 2007, Tumblr has well over 171.5 billion blog posts published on the platform (as of April 2019) and the platform has 475 million users. Following the acquisition, Automattic is planning to make Tumblr complementary to the WordPress platform. And Automattic will be hiring Tumblr’s 200 employees.

Last year, Verizon Media made a big decision by banning adult content on Tumblr. Due to this decision, a large number of LGBTQ Tumblr users left the platform. The ban on adult content will remain in place under Automattic.

Verizon Media (formerly known as Oath) is a division of the telecommunications giant that includes a combination of AOL and Yahoo. It is believed that Verizon Media has been looking for a company to buy Tumblr since May as it restructures its properties.

“Tumblr is a marquee brand that has started movements, allowed for true identities to blossom and become home to many creative communities and fandoms,” said Verizon Media CEO K. Guru Gowrappan in a statement. “We are proud of what the team has accomplished and are happy to have found the perfect partner in Automattic, whose expertise and track record will unlock new and exciting possibilities for Tumblr and its users.”

In an interview with The Verge editor-in-chief Nilay Patel, Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg explained some of the ways that the company plans to compensate the creators.

“We have a program called WordAds that allows people to run ads. We essentially bundle everyone together, we can do really advanced things like header bidding and other things to ensure quality and do a revenue share. So you can have your own ads on the site and make money from that traffic. We’ve also been launching features around monetization or e-commerce. So there’s a simple payments button, there’s some membership stuff that’s launching soon, all the way up to full e-commerce. There’s store’s that do over $100 million a year in annual revenue built on Woocommerce,” explained Mullenweg in the interview. “So from the simple PayPal-like pay me now button, all the way up to sophisticated stores, are things that you can do on WordPress. And we see literally north of 10 billion of transactions a year ago through that, and growing fast, so I would love to open some of that up to the Tumblr community. These are things we’ve built already.”