Gawker Media is making its first-ever acquisition, buying NYC-focused blog CityFile.With the move, CityFile founder and editor Remy Stern will take over as editor-in-chief of Gawker.
Current editor-in-chief Gabriel Snyder is moving on, though according to a memo (below) he was asked to stay on in a management capacity. (Update: Snyder sees things a bit differently. See his memo here.)
CityFile will be folded into Gawker, a la Valleywag.
While CityFile’s readership isn’t enormous, the site boasts a top-notch readership, and a very clever database of over 2144 NYC notables. It’s the type of database we suspect Gawker will be able to get a lot of juice (SEO and otherwise) out of, with a lot of potential for expanding.
And it doesn’t sound as though this will be the company’s last deal. The company has been looking at other opportunities, and in the announcement, prospective sellers are invited to reach out to to them.
And here’s the full internal memo announcing the deal
For the first few years of Gawker Media, the business press had one abiding preoccupation: when are you going to sell out? Today we’re giving the M&A gossips something else to talk about. The company is making its first acquisition: Cityfile, the New York news site founded by Remy Stern. The price is not being disclosed.
Cityfile will be the New York and media industry channel on Gawker, alongside Valleywag and Defamer, our tech and entertainment sub-sites. Cityfile’s 2,000-plus profiles of New York notables will be the centrepiece of our new topic and people pages. And Remy Stern, a former writer on several Gawker sites and editor at the now-legendary Radar magazine, will take over as editor-in-chief of Gawker. He starts on February 22nd.
We had hoped to persuade Gabriel Snyder to stay in a management role. But he’s moving on. With help from an awesomely strong team of writers and the new Gawker.tv operation, Gabriel doubled Gawker’s audience during his tenure (http://bit.ly/c6BXk8.) To anyone out there looking to build up an online property: pick him up quickly.
Does this mean Gawker is going on an acquisition spree?
Well, it’s a question of scale. Each of the Gawker titles does already have more than 1m US visitors a month — making them usually the largest or second largest blog title in their category. Nevertheless the threshold of advertising success does continue to rise and we’re increasingly competing online with TV and newspaper groups.
Moreover, we’ve long actively managed our portfolio of properties, selling Consumerist to Consumers Union last year, for instance — or closing down unsuccessful properties. To achieve critical mass in entertainment and tech, we have indeed looked at a few opportunities in the last few months. If online media is consolidating, we’d rather be a consolidator than consolidatee. And revenue growth of 22% in 2009 provides the resources. (Deal ideas? Contact Gaby Darbyshire.)
Don’t get too excited, however. The successful launches of Jezebel and io9 confirmed our belief that it’s usually more effective to build than buy. Lifted by the iPad launch and the late-night TV wars, our nine sites — all launched inhouse — drew a US audience of more than 14m in January. Our best investment continues to be the recruitment of great writers and producers on our own sites — and the pursuit of hot stories
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