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Speculation split on CNN buying Mashable

Reports say CNN could pay $200M for the social news site, announcement possible Tuesday

CNN may be in the process of buying Mashable, depending on which line of speculation you believe.

The reports began Sunday night when Felix Salmon, a blogger for Reuters, reported from the South by Southwest conference that CNN is preparing to buy Mashable , an online news and blogging site, for $200 million. Salmon, citing an unnamed source, said the announcement is expected Tuesday.

The New York Times quickly followed up that report with one of its own, saying CNN and the social news site are in advanced acquisition talks. The Times cited three unnamed sources.

On Monday, TechCrunch cited a Mashable staffer as saying that founder and CEO Pete Cashmore was denying the reports to senior-level Mashable editors.

If an acquisition is in the works, combining these two news services would take some thoughtful integration, said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research.

"And there's some discontinuity between the audiences. It's a long gap to bridge in one acquisition," he added. "It may be good business, but there are no particular synergies."

Gottheil and Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research, were quick to note that the CNN audience is older and more focused on traditional news than blogs.

"And I think the Mashable audience would largely regard CNN content as stodgy," Gottheil said.

That perceived stodginess may be why CNN could be looking at Mashable, which is seen as having a younger, more technically savvy audience.

"Maybe CNN is trying to capture a younger generation," Kerravala said. "CNN, if it's buying Mashable, could be pushing more CNN stories to a younger audience That might make more sense for them. Buying Mashable gives CNN that new younger audience."

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is [email protected] .

Read more about web 2.0 and web apps in Computerworld's Web 2.0 and Web Apps Topic Center.


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