Media Fortune Fame & Folly

Japan’s Uzabase buys Quartz for up to $110m

News. Media startup Uzabase is acquiring Quartz, the six-year-old New York-based digital  business news platform, from David Bradley’s Atlantic Media. The deal is valued at $75-110m, depending on Quartz’s financial performance over the next 2-3 years, and is expected to complete this month. Tokyo-based Uzabase, which was founded by two investment bankers 10 years ago, publishes NewsPicks (subscription-based business news) and SPEEDA (financial information and corporate intelligence).Under the deal, Quartz will now manage the English-language version of NewsPicks which entered the US market last year as a joint venture with Dow Jones. NewsPicks has 3.3m registered users in Japan, with 64,000 paying $15 per month. Quartz relies mainly on branded content for revenue. Now, though, it plans to replicate the NewsPicks’ subscription strategy. The ultra-smart Quartz describes itself as “a native news outlet for business people in the new global economy”, 70% of whom are said to access it via mobile devices and some 40% from outside the US. It claims a global audience of more than 100m people, including 22m monthly web site visitors, 85m video views on facebook and Twitter, and some 700k subscribers to its newsletters including the highly-rated Daily Brief. Quartz is believed to have annual revenues of some $40m and profits of $3m. It employs 215 people including 100 journalists across the world, including recruits from the Wall Street Journal and The Economist. Alongside, Business Insider (now said to be newly-profitable under Axel Springer’s ownership), Quartz has long looked like nothing less than the future of digital news, with its emphasis on high-quality journalism and exclusive content. Owner Bradley had a background in consulting before becoming a publisher in 1997. He acquired his flagship The Atlantic magazine two years later. He is an expansive media boss who has invested in journalism – both in print and digital. His team were rocked by the declaration that he will be divesting all his media activities before he is 70 – in 2023. Last year, he sold a majority share in The Atlantic to philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs’ Emerson Collective (which has also discussed investing in BuzzFeed News). He still owns National Journal, DefenceOne, and Government Executive.