Rumor: CNN to Buy Mashable Tomorrow

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Strange news is trickling out of the SXSW conference, where Reuters blogger Felix Salmon says “a little bird told him” that cable news powerhouse CNN is going buy the Internet and technology website Mashable. The cost of the rumored acquisition is $200 million, and Salmon says could be announced as early as Tuesday.

While this at first seems a little nuts, Salmon makes a pretty strong argument for the plausibility of the whole thing. He says that both sites have a broad-based consumer focus, suggesting that their styles will fit together well, hopefully allowing them to avoid all that AOL/TechCrunch unpleasantness. Beyond Salmon’s little bird, CNET reports that the NYTimes confirms talks between CNN and Mashable, perhaps giving this rumor some legitmacy.

CNET also points out that Mashable editor Adam Ostrow has liked the Reuters story on Facebook. Perhaps this is the modern equivalent of a smoking gun.

Why an enormous operation like CNN would be interested in a comparably small site like Mashable may at first seem confusing, it’s likely all to do with surviving in the digital landscape. Mashable’s “About Us” page shows about 46 employees, yet it also claims 20 million monthly page views and boasts syndication deals with ABC News, Metro, USA Today and Yahoo! News, and (notably) CNN. Mashable clearly understands the digital space, and how to get attention in it — skills that CNN is probably interesting in learning.

(Reuters via Techmeme, CNET)

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