‘The New York Times’ to acquire ‘The Athletic’ for $550 million in cash

January 7, 2022

The New York Times has agreed to acquire the The Athletic in an all-cash deal—valuing the sports media startup at $550 million, a source familiar with the deal confirmed to Axios.

It’s a huge victory for The Athletic, which had been shopping a deal for months, Axios says. The subscription-based sports media company was under pressure to sell in light of how much cash it’s lost over the past two years.

The Athletic Co-Founders Alex Mather and Adam Hansmann will stay on after the deal, which was expected to be announced at market close on Thursday, January 6.

Sources told Axios in May that the Times approached The Athletic following a report about a potential deal between The Athletic and Axios in March.

The Athletic was founded six years ago and has raised around $140 million to-date. It last raised $50 million in January 2020—putting its latest valuation at around $500 million.

The company has hired hundreds of journalists across the USA and the UK to produce quality long-form journalism about sports. In recent months, it’s began experimenting with advertising and investing more in podcasts.

Like most digital media companies, The Athletic laid off staffers early on during the pandemic, but has picked up on hiring since. The company employs about 600 people

According to Axios, the deal makes sense for the Times, which is sitting on $1 billion in cash and is looking to increase its subscriber numbers.

Research contact: @axios