Automattic Spurns $200 Million Acquisition Offer

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Automattic, the company that created the WordPress.com blogging platform and oversees the WordPress.org open source project, has rejected a $200 million acquisition offer, say multiple sources. Half the price was to be paid in cash, half in stock in the buyer.

The company, which has raised just $1.1 million in capital, has been on a tear lately. They acquired avatar startup Gravatar earlier this month. And Comscore says WordPress.com had nearly 63 million unique worldwide visitors in September 2007, up 66% from May’s 38 million visitors. What I don’t know is the company’s revenue.

Building a real business around open source software is doable – see RedHat’s $4.1 billion market cap as an example. And rumor is that MySQL is planning an IPO of their own in the near future. For Automattic to spurn a $200 million offer means they are thinking along the lines of going public themselves, or at least a significantly higher acquisition price. Down the road, with the benefit of hindsight, we’ll know if they made the right decision or not.

Automattic declined to comment on this post.

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