CNET to buy TechCrunch — why not?

Boy, Henry “I used to be a famous Wall Street analyst” Blodget is sure on a roll — or make that a troll. Today he’s got a post about how TechCrunch could be bought by CNET for $100-million or so. His post is actually a response to one by Doug McIntyre at 24/7 Wall Street, in which Doug hypothesizes about blog networks such as TechCrunch and Huffington Post and GigaOm and how much they might be worth to existing media entities.

Mike has a sarcastic response to Henry’s post here. And there’s no question that $100-million seems like a fairy tale price — a lot like Henry’s $2,000 Google post from yesterday. Still, the idea itself makes sense. TechCrunch or GigaOm would fit as a part of CNET or several other media entities. The ironic thing is that selling would probably be a mistake, because at the moment they are doing far better than most of the companies that would be thinking about buying them.


Is $100-million nonsensical or not? Let’s look at the numbers: TechCrunch says it has 1.5 million unique visitors a month — although a commenter below says those numbers may be high — and CNET Networks has about 10 million a month, according to comScore (Compete says about 6 million a month). But as we all know, it’s about more than just uniques, right? It’s about monetization.

CNET had revenue last year of almost $400-million, although it only made a profit of $7-million, which is pretty pathetic. No one except Mike knows what TechCrunch made last year (check below for some Valleywag scuttlebutt — I have no idea whether it is even close).

Still, CNET’s market cap is $1.2-billion. If you assume that someone could monetize Mike’s 1.5 million unique visitors better than CNET can monetize its uniques (which wouldn’t be a stretch) then you could easily come to the conclusion that TechCrunch is worth about 20 per cent of what CNET is worth — or about $250-million.

I’m not saying it is, I’m just saying $100-million doesn’t look all that crazy. Oh, and Mike? If you do a deal, Cynthia Brumfield at IPDemocracy has some advice for you.

Update 2:

Dan Farber of ZDNet (which is part of CNET) notes that the rankings at Alexa and (presumably) comScore only measure, but CNET’s family of sites get 137 million uniques a month. That’s an order of magnitude larger than the numbers I was using. That suggests TechCrunch might be worth in the neighbourhood of $20-million. Still nothing to sneeze at.

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About mathewi

I'm the chief digital writer at the Columbia Journalism Review in New York, and a former writer for Fortune magazine and the Globe and Mail newspaper.

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