What: The New York Times Company has acquired The Wirecutter and its sibling, The Sweethome in a US$30 million all-cash transaction that closed on October 24, 2016.
Why it matters: Following the acquisition, Brian Lam, founder of The Wirecutter and The Sweethome, will stay on in an advisory role, while Jacqui Cheng, editor-in-chief, and Christopher Mascari, product director, will remain in those roles.
The New York Times Company announced that it has acquired The Wirecutter and its sibling, The Sweethome, product-recommendation services that serve as a guide to technology gear, home products and other consumer services. The acquisition was an all-cash transaction that closed on October 24, 2016.
The Times will pay more than US$30 million, including retention bonuses and other payouts, for the startup, according to people familiar with the transaction.
Founded in 2011 by technology journalist Brian Lam, The Wirecutter and The Sweethome, its sister site, are lists of the best gadgets, gear and other products for people who quickly want to know what to get. The sites are built on the strong editorial backbone of journalists making research-driven, powerful product recommendations. The sites generate revenue primarily through affiliates—that is, money earned by offering direct links to merchants in exchange for a share of any ultimate sale. These merchants include both major online retailers such as Amazon, as well as niche and vertical-specific shops.
“We’re very excited about this acquisition on two fronts. It’s an impressively run business with a very attractive revenue model and its success is built on the foundation of great, rigorously reported service journalism,” said Mark Thompson, president and CEO of The New York Times Company. “The New York Times is the definitive source for news, information and entertainment and now we’re working on becoming an authoritative destination for service journalism, with verticals like Cooking, Watching and Well. The practical approach that The Wirecutter and The Sweethome take to product recommendations embodies the same standards and values that are the pillars of our own newsroom. Their service-focused guides align with our commitment to creating products that are an indispensable part of our readers’s lives,” Thompson added.
Following the acquisition, Mr. Lam will stay on in an advisory role, while Jacqui Cheng, editor-in-chief, and Christopher Mascari, product director, will remain in those roles. Ben French, vice president of NYT Beta, will serve as interim general manager and will work to integrate The Wirecutter and The Sweethome into The Times Company.
Mr. Lam said, “The New York Times is the perfect home for The Wirecutter because of our shared love and commitment to reader service and public good through rigorous reporting. And most important, we’re thrilled to have the chance to help Times readers find great gear that can improve their lives.”