Cheezburger used to run a viral publishing empire -- now it's been sold to an Israeli media company

Cheezburger CEO Ben HuhVictor Boyko/Getty Images for SPIMFFormer Cheezburger CEO Ben Huh.

Cheezburger, the company that built a media empire by embracing internet culture (and funny photos of cats), has been sold to Israeli media company Literally Media.

It’s been a strange journey for Cheezburger. It started as a single blog after cofounder Eric Nakagawa posted a photo of a cat with the caption “I can has cheezburger?” 

From that initial blog, the Cheezburger Network, as it came to be known, grew to include other sites like FAIL Blog, The Daily What, Know Your Meme, and Memebase, among others.

At its peak in 2011, the Cheezburger Network brought in over 375 million page views every month. The site’s staff also had their own reality TV show, “LOLwork,” which focused on life at the company.

However, success didn’t last. Dwindling page views forced Cheezburger to undergo multiple rounds of layoffs. It went from 90 employees in 2011 down to 42 employees in 2013. “LOLwork” was cancelled after a single series, and CEO Ben Huh left the company in July 2015.

News of Cheezburger’s acquisition broke in February, but the buyer hasn’t been named until now. Literally Media was founded in Tel Aviv in 2015 and includes sites like eBaum’s World, another early internet culture site that saw a drop in traffic.

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