Guardian Media Group buys paidContent parent company for $30 million

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paidContent, a blog about "the economics of content", has said that it will be acquired by UK media company Guardian Media Group, owners of The Guardian and The Guardian Media Group itself is owned by the Scott Trust.

Its parent company, ContentNext Media, has said that it will remain as a independent business and also says that it is a major expansion for the Guardian Media Group’s US presence. It will also own paidContent’s UK equivalent, and contentSutra.

Founded by Rafat Ali in 2002, it has offices in Santa Monica, California, and Manhattan, and also runs several conferences. In May, Conde Nast bought Ars Technica for $25 million, $5 million less than the ContentNext buyout. The full press release is below.

For Immediate Release

Guardian News & Media to buy ContentNext Media

NEW YORK, July 11, 2008—Guardian News & Media today announces a significant expansion of its US presence with the acquisition of ContentNext Media, the leading B2B media company which covers digital media, the entertainment and technology sectors, and publishes the influential

Its founder and editor Rafat Ali, and CEO, Nathan Richardson, will continue to run the company as a stand-alone business.

ContentNext, based in Santa Monica, California, and New York City, is an online media hub delivering high-quality professional news, information and analysis to executives in the media, entertainment & technology sectors.  Its publishing network comprises the flagship, providing global coverage of the business of digital content;, covering the business of mobile content; paidContent:UK, focusing on the UK and Europe; and, covering India’s digital content market. The company also runs a complementary events business bringing together business decision-makers and thought-leaders. More of the release after jump…

The move marks a major step in Guardian News & Media’s expansion outside of the UK. In the last nine months it has launched Guardian America, offering news and comment to a US audience, and forged a new commercial relationship with Reuters to sell advertising in the US. GNM, which publishes two leading UK newspapers, The Guardian and The Observer, and the network of websites, also owns a B2B division, Guardian Professional, providing publications, events and conferences to professional audiences in its core sectors of media, education, and the public sector.  ContentNext will form part of the Guardian Professional group.

Tim Brooks, Managing Director of Guardian News and Media, said: “We have long been admirers of Rafat and the business he has built, which is an indispensable resource for so many senior people in our industry.  So we are genuinely excited at the prospect of being able to help Rafat, Nathan and the team take ContentNext to the next level.”

ContentNext was founded in 2002 by Rafat Ali and funded by Greycroft Partners in 2006.

Rafat Ali, the founder, said: “The Guardian’s international reputation for editorial integrity and digital innovation make it the perfect partner to help ContentNext to grow its expanding platform.”

Nathan Richardson, CEO of ContentNext, added:  “The strategy and ambitions of the Guardian are a terrific fit for ContentNext’s plans to be the leading digital publishing platform for news and information to the media, entertainment and publishing industries.”

“I have admired paidContent for years. Rafat and his team personify the values of editorial independence and integrity that are core to the Guardian. I’m very happy to welcome the company into the expanding Guardian Media Group,” commented Carolyn McCall, Chief Executive of Guardian Media Group.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Guardian News and Media (GNM) is the award winning publisher of the Guardian and Observer newspapers and Founded in 1821 the Guardian has a long history of editorial and political independence.  The Observer is the oldest Sunday paper in the world, founded in 1791 and was acquired by GNM in 1993.  GNM’s network of websites launched in 1999 and is now the UK’s most popular newspaper website. For three consecutive years has been voted the best newspaper on the web at the Webby Awards. The site recorded traffic of 18,323,824 monthly unique users in May 08 and maintained its market leading position in the UK with 7,664,856 unique users (audited by ABCe), the highest-ever monthly user figure for a UK newspaper site.  In the same month it attracted 4,977,591 unique users from the US. 

Guardian America, a section of the site tailored for its audience in the U.S and edited from Washington can be found at

Unlike most media organizations which are owned by a proprietor or group of shareholders, the Guardian is owned by the Scott Trust, a unique form of media ownership in the UK, which secures the continuity and editorial independence of the Guardian, Observer and

Guardian News & Media Limited is a division of Guardian Media Group plc, one of the UK’s leading multimedia companies ( Its diverse portfolio also includes:
— GMG Regional Media: the Manchester Evening News and its website, other regional newspapers in the North West and South of England, and the Channel M city TV station.
— GMG Radio: a number of regional radio stations across the UK under the Real Radio, Smooth Radio, Century Radio and Rock Radio brands.
— GMG Property Services: Vebra, Core Systems and CFP, providers of software to independent estate agents, and, the consumer-facing portal.
— Trader Media Group: one of Europe’s largest specialist print and online media companies, and publisher of the Auto Trader magazine and website. Trader Media Group is jointly owned by GMG and Apax Partners.
— Emap (LSE: EMA) Communications: the B2B publishing, events and information business, also jointly owned by GMG and Apax Partners.

For more information please contact:

Julie Taylor, Guardian Press Office, 0044 207 713 4087/[email protected]
Patrick Wallace, Larkin Volpatt Communications, 619-255-8025 [email protected]