Maven Buys Jim Cramer’s TheStreet for $16.5 Million Cash
Deal includes a new NFL fantasy football subscription product
Maven, a digital publishing, advertising and distribution platform, has completed its acquisition of Jim Cramer’s TheStreet, Inc. (NASDAQ: TST), a financial news and investor information outlet, for $16.5 million in an all-cash deal. The deal is being fully funded through debt financing from Maven subsidiary B. Riley Financial, Inc. Cramer, co-founder of TheStreet and the host of CNBC's "Mad Money," his team of financial experts and senior management will remain with the company. The combined companies anticipate revenue of more than $50 million in revenue over the next four quarters, not including a newly announced deal with Sports Illustrated.
“TheStreet and Jim Cramer represent a pinnacle in market-leading financial insight,” said Maven CEO James Heckman, in an August 8 news release. “Their addition to Maven’s premium media coalition highlights the strategic momentum we're building and adds another flagship to our portfolio of major media brands and nine-figure user scale. We also expect TheStreet’s reach and engagement to grow as a result of Maven’s industry-leading technology, distribution and monetization platform.”
Cramer’s new production company, Cramer Digital, Cramer will continue to create exclusive subscription and content products that will remain under his editorial control, including Actions Alert Plus and Real Money. As part of the deal, Cramer has signed a three-year production deal that includes a new NFL fantasy football subscription service, reports The New York Post. The new NFL subscription will feature a pre-weekend preview show on Thursdays and follow-up shows on Tuesdays.
“I am truly excited about continuing and expanding my role with TheStreet,” said Cramer. “It has been an important part of my life since I founded it more than 20 years ago and I am ‘bullish’ about the opportunity to expand Cramer Digital’s offerings and reach with Maven in the years ahead.”
The Sports Illustrated deal is possible because Maven bought SI’s media operations from Authentic Brands Group, who purchased SI from Meredith for $110 million in June.
Cramer will become the financial hub and brand for Maven’s financial vertical which Maven will supplement with other finance experts. Maven gets access to Cramer’s large subscriber base and his financial and editorial expertise, while Cramer benefits from Maven’s distribution platform – a mobile-friendly CMS and social, video and monetization technology.
According to Crunchbase, the Seattle-based Maven was founded in July 2016 by James Heckman (CEO), Ben Joldersma (CTO) and William Sornsin (co-founder). It is a media coalition of publishers and content “mavens,” brought together in one digital marketplace. Including its acquisitions (TheStreet, SAY Media, HubPages), Maven has attracted more than 100 brands such as Oxygen, History Rachael Ray Every Day, Cupcakes and Cashmere, Maxim, Indian Country Today, Backbacker, Today’s Mama and All HipHop.
The company says it provides publishers and other content mavens with a sustainable and proven business model.
“The high-scale, unified platform offers operating leverage to all participants of Maven’s efficient ecosystem. Ad agencies are more in control, and their marketing more successful operating within a single, pristine environment. Consumers enjoy single log-in and navigation, as well as consistent quality. Publisher “mavens” are finally offered a fair, sustainable business model with free distribution and world-class technology and investors can count on a profitable business model that doesn’t require material increases in costs to scale revenue,” says the Maven on its About page.
Maven provides a wide range of services and benefits to its publishing partners including distribution to more than 100 million monthly users, community engagement features, native mobile apps for iOS and Android, single sign-on and simplified but advanced CMS, video, hosting, search functionality, advertising platform (display, native and video advertising), distribution capabilities on a variety of platforms (Instant Articles, Google AMP, Google News and RSS) and integrated subscription and membership services, including payment processing. Essentially, Maven provides everything a publisher needs to be successful, so they can focus on content and audience engagement.
The concept of Maven is a great deal for publishers if Maven can deliver on its promises and on its platform. Based on the background of its executive leadership team (from Yahoo, AppNexus, News Corp, Omnicom, Microsoft, Google and Amazon), and the talent and investments ($22.5 million in three funding rounds) it has attracted thus far, it seems like a sure thing – but publishing is never guaranteed in the publishing world. We hope it is successful though. Smaller, niche publishers need a place to go, so they can be sustainable while doing what they do best – providing world-class, exclusive content.