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Scoop: New York Times in talks to buy The Athletic

New York Times The Athletic
Thought Leader: Sara Fischer
May 25, 2021
Source: Axios
Written by: Sara Fischer

The New York Times is looking into a potential acquisition of The Athletic, three sources familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Driving the news: Sources say the Times approached The Athletic following a report about a potential deal between The Athletic and Axios in March.

The Times has been reaching out to former employees to vet The Athletic’s business and culture, sources say.

By the numbers: Sources say The Athletic has about 1.2 million subscribers, some on discounted rate plans.

The big picture: The deal would help bolster the Times’ subscription strategy, especially if it were to one day bundle its existing subscription offerings.

On an earnings call earlier this month, Times CEO Meredith Kopit Levien noted that these types of ancillary subscription products, “combined with the differential value and demand advantages of our core news product … should enable The Times to become a larger and more profitable business as we scale.”

Data: New York Times earning reports; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

A New York Times spokesperson told Axios: “As a general matter of policy, we do not comment on rumors about potential acquisitions or divestitures.”

Between the lines: The Times isn’t the only company to have had conversations with The Athletic.

Yes, but: The Times has a mixed track record when it comes to deals.

Our thought bubble: If the Times were to proceed with a purchase of The Athletic, it could do so with stock.

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