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Guardian Buys ContentNext Media For $30 Million

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That guy from Aligarh

ContentNext Media, which owns paidContent.org, mocoNews.net, contentSutra.com and paidContent:UK has been acquired by the Guardian News & Media (GNM), the news media division of UKs Guardian Media Group (GMG). Kara Swisher, who broke the story at AllThingsD, writes that the deal is valued at over $30 million, but founder and Editor Rafat Ali’s note on the same doesn’t mention a price. As per reports, the payout is based on performance. Ali says ContentNext will remain a stand-alone business. Ali had set up paidContent.org six years ago, as a portfolio to showcase his understanding of the digital content market. ContentNext had received an undisclosed amount of funding of less than $1 million from Alan Patricofs Greycroft Partners.

From an Indian perspective, this effectively means that the Guardian now owns an Indian digital media site – contentSutra – and with possibly more resources and bandwidth at its disposal (though – how soon?), one could see an increase in coverage of the Indian digital media space. That can only be good for the ecosystem. At the same time, I wonder if we’ll see Ali return to India, and perhaps even look at setting up a venture here.

On a personal note: I was with contentSutra for two years – the last year and a half as its editor – and am immensely pleased for Rafat and Staci (Kramer), as well as David Kaplan, Robert Andrews, Joseph Weisenthal and the rest of the team. Editorially, I’ve considered them the strongest and most reliable publication in this space, and I think the Guardian is a great fit for the company; Reuters would have been, too.


Almost every time I’ve met Rafat, he’s been sleepless and red-eyed; it’s been six extremely hardworking years for “The Ali”, and he’s certainly earned this. Congrats, man.

Disclosure: MediaNama operates in the same space as ContentNext’s contentSutra.com – covering Digital Media in India

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  • May be it is just me but the first thought that struck me on learning about this acquisition was “ouch..if only Nikhil could have stayed with CS for a few more days to earn a bigger payout…” ;-)

  • Nikhil:

    Guardian is an odd buyer, as the group and its flagship publication, the eponymous newspaper, have a left-leaning bias. Although they claim that PaidContent will function as a standalone entity in the portfolio, I am curious to see how it affects PaidContent in the long run. There will also be no merger between PC (UK) and GMG’s UK assets, which is also odd because together – FWIW in our screwed up economic circumstances right now – they have more muscle at least in advertising and events space. Then again, GMG is owned by Scott Trust, a non-profit, so that is an interesting dynamic too. One of GMG’s divisions is co-owned by Apax Partners too.

    I am disappointed by how few analyst commentaries have come forth on this considering the Guardian brand’s presence in the UK.

    Re India, GMG’s working assumption – acc to WashPost – has been that PC is in India and growing, and they think GMG and PC can help each other with their India plans. Funny wording that!

    PS: Should I declare I read the Guardian? And the Telegraph and the FT? And sometimes peak over shoulders in the train to see what is going on in the Daily Mail and the Sun? ;-)

  • Rafat

    Nikhil was a very integral part of our company, and is building a great site here and applying some of the lessons we learned along the way. And no, am not returning to India, but this will mean lot more frequent visit to London and Delhi/Mumbai..and of course Aligarh :)

    Strangely, no news outlet in Aligarh covered this news :(