Digg Being Aqcuired by NYT/WP for $300m?

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Digg LogoValleywag is reporting that Digg is close to be acquired for a sum of $300-400 million. Sources close to the company have leaked the information, but no concrete evidence has surfaced. The company has been growing in traffic steadily and given Digg’s history of almost-acquisitions, I will believe it when I see it.

TechCrunch had the following time table of Digg “acquisitions”:

  • Blogger Kevin Burton was infamously first to bat with a statement that a sale of Digg to Yahoo was a near certainty in January 2006, for $30 million (he was wrong).
  • We know with a high degree of certainty that Digg did try to sell itself to Yahoo, and probably others, for $20 million or more in May 2006. No offers were made, according to our sources.
  • By the end of 2006 the price had increased – they were asking for $150 and turned down soft offers in the $100 million range. At the time, Comscore said they had just 1.3 million users.
  • We have confirmations from potential buyers that Digg continued discussions throughout 2006 and into early 2007, looking for at least $100 million, but no offers were made.
  • Over the last few months Digg has been shopping themselves again – and the price is at least $200 million according to a source who’s been pitched. Again, no offer.

Valleywag is speculating one the larger newspaper companies — The New York Times Co. or the Washington Post Co, — maybe the culprit buyer. I guess it would make sense for one of these two to buy Digg: traditional media, especially print, is dieing. Why not jump on one of the hottest, fastest growing startups?

To be honest, I would feel sorry for anyone who buys Digg. The Digg users are a fiery bunch. Any little disruption in their Digg regime sets them off like a time bomb. The attitude of Digg users is the only thing that keeps me from using the service. If I were Kevin Rose, on the other hand, I would sell sell sell. Move on to new things.

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