Automattic, which makes the free, open-source blogging app WordPress, has raised $29.5 million in series B funding, GigaOm reports. Updated: Polaris Ventures led the round with $20 million; investors also included True Ventures and Radar Ventures, and The New York Times Company (NYT).
Automattic decided to raise more money after turning down an acquisition offer last year. From the WSJ:
“The San Francisco start-up and its investors declined to name the larger Internet company that made the buyout bid, which came a few months ago. But the offer valued Automattic at between $150 million and $200 million, and helped prompt the new round of financing, said Phil Black, an Automattic board member and partner at True Ventures, which is putting up some of the money.”
In addition to offering free WordPress blogging software, the company hosts free, personal blogs, and expensive, corporate blogs for clients like GigaOM, Fox, Fortune and CNN. The profitable (!) company will use the money to hire more staff, invest in other apps like their message board software, and perhaps pursue some acquisitions of their own. And company founders “and others” will get to cash some out.
Oh, yeah. Why the New York Times? Automattic CEO Toni Schneider:
“In addition to investing in us, we are also entering a partnership with the Times to expand their existing WordPress blogging infrastructure and to create new ways of connecting WordPress bloggers with the New York Times and its readers.”
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