UPDATE: We spoke with a source close to the situation who says that Huffington Post has expressed interest in buying Deadline Hollywood Daily but that no deal has been agreed to.
EARLIER: Huffington Post is rumoured to be buying Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood Daily, the leading entertainment industry blog. We have not yet confirmed the deal, but it certainly makes sense.
Nikki has met with several parties about the possibility of selling DHD. PaidContent is said to have been interested. Nikki says Variety was interested. Sharon Waxman also reported that Nikki told her she has a couple of other offers on the table and one might happen, adding “It might not; I’m very picky.” Nikki issued a strong denial on her blog saying that everything in Waxman’s post is wrong.
HuffPo, meanwhile, just raised a $25 million war chest from Oak Investment Partners, which it plans to use to make “select, focused acquisitions,” among other things. The company has been gradually building up its Entertainment and Business verticals, and the addition of Nikki’s popular posts would help that effort.
As long as HuffPo doesn’t pay too much and structures the deal in a way that keeps Nikki motivated, the acquisition would make sense.
Sharon Waxman speculated about how much DHD might be worth. With an average of 200,000 unique pageviews a month, an analyst estimated to Waxman, that Nikki could get roughly $2 per unique or $400,000 at most. Waxman added, “I am told with good authority that the former publisher of Variety, Charlie Koones, was willing to pay $500,000 a couple of years ago.” (Charlie Koones has since told Nikki Finke that he never told Waxman he offered to buy Nikki’s blog for a particular sum.)
Who knows how much HuffPo might be willing to offer for DHD, but the site already seems to be on Nikki’s side, devoting the homepage of its Media vertical on Tuesday to the battle between Variety and DHD that she recently detailed.
(Photo of Betsy Morgan, HuffPo CEO)
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