It’s only the first few days of Texan technology conference/music festival South By Southwest, but the rumour mill is already going into overdrive – by far the juiciest product of which being that Mashable, the technology blog, is about to be sold to CNN for a cool $200m (£127m). If the gossips are correct, it’ll make the company’s founder, high-cheekboned 26-year-old Pete Cashmore, an instant millionaire – and an even more attractive proposition to his legions of female fans…
The rumours came from Reuters, which said the two sides are in ‘advanced talks’ – although others reckon the deal’s already done and dusted, and set for an announcement as soon as Tuesday morning. Whatever the truth is, Cashmore is staying tight-lipped: Mashable staff told tech blog Techcrunch that their CEO is ‘denying the reports to senior level Mashable editors’. Then again, Techcrunch also points out that the website’s executive editor, Adam Ostrow, ‘inadvertently "liked" the original Reuters report’ – so it’s difficult to say what’s going on.
If it’s going to happen, it would be impressive work for Cashmore, who started the blog seven years ago from his bedroom in Aberdeen. These days, he’s been listed among the web’s most influential people not once, but twice – by Forbes magazine and The Huffington Post. He’s also one of the top 40 most followed on Twitter. Mashable itself is just as salubrious: with about 20 million visitors a month, you can see why CNN would be interested.
The straitlaced news network might come across as an odd fit for Mashable, but its website is actually one of the most popular in the US, and Cashmore’s been writing a column for it for a while. CNN is also hungry to expand its online presence: last year, for instance, it acquired iPad app developer Zite in a deal estimated to have been worth somewhere between $25m and $30m. Not bad.
- Image credit: Flickr/Richard Moross