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