David Blecken
Jul 3, 2018

Atlantic Media to sell Quartz to Japan's Uzabase

Quartz aims to learn from a successful paid-content operator as Uzabase plots international expansion.

Jay Lauf will become co-CEO of Quartz alongside Kevin Delaney (Photo: Quartz)
Jay Lauf will become co-CEO of Quartz alongside Kevin Delaney (Photo: Quartz)

Uzabase, a Japanese media company that owns the mobile-oriented business news title NewsPicks, is to acquire Quartz from Atlantic Media for up to $110 million.

The acquisition is expected to close in the next 30 days, with Quartz valued at between $75 million and $110 million, according to the two companies. Quartz co-presidents Jay Lauf and Kevin Delaney will become co-CEOs of the company and report to Yusuke Umeda, founder and CEO of Uzabase.

Tokyo-based Uzabase, which was founded in 2008, is looking to expand internationally, particularly in the US and Europe. It currently has offices in New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai and Sri Lanka. The deal with Quartz marks the company’s first acquisition.

According to a statement from Uzabase, bringing Quartz and NewsPicks together will result in “a larger, more robust global business news brand that combines Quartz’s voice, editorial, advertising and product experience, and international reach with Uzabase’s deep experience in data and niche paid content”.

Established in 2012, Quartz became profitable in 2016, making $1 million on revenue of around $30 million, the company said. It expects revenue to grow by between 25% and 35% this year. Almost all its revenue currently comes from advertising, but Quartz is looking to develop paid models as the Facebook-Google duopoly continues to strengthen its grip on digital advertising. It’s a direction more publishers are certain to follow. Last month, Bloomberg became one of the latest major news providers to put up a paywall.

Umeda said Quartz had inspired him to launch NewsPicks in 2013. NewsPicks has become popular among young professionals in Japan, where it competes with platforms including SmartNews and Line News. The service has 3.3 million registered users and 64,000 paid subscribers.

Uzabase’s acquisition follows that of the Financial Times (FT) by Nikkei, Japan’s largest media company, in 2015.

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