July 5, 2018
Atlantic Media, a private, Washington, D.C.-based company that owns a slew of digital, print, event, social, and video platforms—including The Atlantic, Government Executive Media Group, and National Journal—has announced the sale of Quartz, a six-year-old business news site, to Japanese financial intelligence and media firm Uzabase in a deal valued at between $75 million to $110 million.
Under the terms of the agreement, revealed on July 2, Quartz will take over the English-language version of NewsPicks, the Tokyo-based company’s global subscription-news service for consumers, within 30 days.
NewsPicks launched in Japan in 2013—and in the United States in mid-2017, as a joint venture with Dow Jones. Designed to be the first place professionals, investors, entrepreneurs, and executives go each day to get a curated, but comprehensive, selection of news, the NewsPicks content is aggregated from both traditional publishers and new media. Users can also customize their own individual feeds based on the people, publications, and keywords they follow. In Japan, the service has 3.3 million registered users and 64,000 paying subscribers, with a price point of $15/month.
It was just prior to the Asian launch of the publication that Uzabase CEO Yusuke Umeda became aware of Quartz. “Five years ago, when I was originally thinking about launching a digital media business, I discovered Quartz for the first time,” he said. “I thought that they were truly the first new media company to successfully combine quality journalism with mobile technology, and they played a big role in inspiring me to launch NewsPicks. I am very excited to enter the next chapter of NewsPicks’s growth with a company and team that I respect so much.”
By bringing together the Quartz and NewsPicks businesses, Uzabase, which is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, will be able to create a larger, more robust global business news brand that combines Quartz’s voice, original editorial content, advertising, product expertise, and international reach with Uzabase’s deep expertise in data and niche paid content. This partnership accelerates NewsPicks’ expansion into English-language markets in the United States and Europe. It also will accelerate Quartz’s transition into a paid- subscription operation.
Quartz’s two founders—Editor-in-Chief Kevin J. Delaney and Publisher Jay Lauf — will become co-CEOs of Quartz, reporting to Umeda. Quartz will retain its name and brand and continue operating from its New York City headquarters. Currently, Quartz has 215 employees, including 100 journalists based around the world; with offices in London, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.
On average, management says, more than 20 million people access Quartz each month across its suite of digital products, including its website, an app, email newsletters, and video. Other Quartz products include a bot studio and Quartz Creative— the commercial division, which works with brands on content, insights, strategy and other business solutions. Half of the Quartz audience is from outside the United States.
Atlantic Media will continue to provide corporate support to Quartz through a transition period of at least one year following the acquisition. Atlantic Media Chairman and Owner David Bradley will continue to work with the company as a senior advisor and shareholder. Bradley, with Atlantic Media President Michael Finnegan, will continue to own and operate the privately held holding company’s other businesses.
This is far from the biggest publication takeover to close this year. Meredith bought out Time—publisher of Time, People, Sports Illustrated and InStyle —in an all-cash-backed transaction of $1.84 billion that closed in February.
Research contact: Emily@AtlanticMedia.com