In 2017, Verizon acquired Tumblr. Now, it's selling the property.
Verizon has agreed to sell Tumblr to WordPress' owner, Automattic Inc, for an undisclosed sum, according to The Wall Street Journal. Verizon acquired Tumblr after it purchased Yahoo. The site was once extremely popular, though, under Verizon’s stewardship, it lost ground to Instagram, Pinterest, and Reddit. Nevertheless, people still use Tumblr, and WordPress still think it has value.
Keep in mind Yahoo purchased Tumblr for $1.1 billion in 2013. But, once at Verizon, there were several changes enacted that seem to have negatively impacted Tumblr, like the decision to ban adult content on the site. It led to a massive boycott and likely pushed away a large chunk of Tumblr’s user base. However, it looks like Automattic Inc wants to keep that rule in place.
CEO Matt Mullenweg told the WSJ that Tumblr will serve as a “complementary” site to WordPress going forward. “We’re not going to change any of that," he explained. It's unclear if the two services plan to share any functionality, but we suspect over time the two could integrate.
Tumblr isn't dead by any means, and its future - once murky - may be a bit brighter with this purchase.
Update: Axios said Automattic Inc bought Tumblr for "well below" $20 million, possibly even below $3 million.
3/ Story updated: Price less than $3 million.— Dan Primack (@danprimack) August 12, 2019