Flipboard Buys Zite from CNN
Zite had initially launched in 2010 as an iPad app, and it was scooped up by CNN in August 2011 in a deal valued at $20 million. There’s no solid info on today’s selling price, but CNN is reporting its value as $60 million.
As part of the deal, Flipboard will integrate CNN content in to Flipboard, covering over 300 feeds. CNN is also reporting that Flipboard will help launch custom magazines for CNN shows anchored by Fareed Zakaria, Jake Tapper, and John King.
“Flipboard has proven to be one of the biggest drivers of traffic so syndicating out content into Flipboard will see us creating custom magazines for our shows and talent,” CNN’s head of digital KC Estenson said today.
According to Flipboard, the Zite service will not be continued as an independent platform; instead Flipboard plans to integrate Zite’s technology into the Flipboard platform and combine the staffs. With the exception of Zite CEO Mark Johnson, the majority of the 15-20 Zite employees will be moving from Zite to Flipboard. This includes Zite co-founder Mike Klaas and the engineering team that had built the personalized news engine that powered Zite.
The news comes at a time when competition is increasing in this niche. Facebook launched Paper, a very similar reading app, in January. Google has also recently launched a Flipboard inspired aggregator app called Google Newsstand.
Flipboard reports that they now have over 100 million users, up from the 85 million last Fall. Based on the $50 million in capital that Flipboard raised last September, the company is worth an estimated $800 million.