Ziff Davis has been in some deep financial trouble over the past few years but today, this may come to an end. The technology publisher has been acquired by former Time Inc. executive Vivek Shah in partnership with Boston-based private equity firm Great Hill Partners. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Ziff Davis operates nine properties including PCMag.com, ExtremeTech, GearLog, GoodCleanTech, DL.tv, AppScout, CrankyGeeks, Smart Device Central and TechSaver.com, which the company says reach over 7 million users per month. As a seasoned digital media exec, Shah might be able to breathe life back into the publisher. Shah has an impressive background in media, as helping create CNNMoney.com, overseeing Time.com and SI.com, and also serving as the president of Fortune and Money magazines.
The release indicates that Shah is particularly interested in Ziff Davis Labs, a computer testing lab that produces reviews of gadgets, similar to Consumer Reports. We had the opportunity to speak to Shah, who told us that there’s a tremendous opportunity in producing content that helps users make buying decisions. “There’s a huge potential in purchasing intent here,” says Shah. He also says there’s a huge opportunity in bringing editorial content to tablet devices and intends to take Ziff Davis’ content in that direction. Shah also confirmed to us that the transaction was valued under $150 million.
Unfortunately, thanks to the imploding print and magazine business, Ziff Davis Media has had to move more towards a digital model and succumbed to layoffs. This acquisition by a seasoned digital exec may help bring fresh ideas, new revenue streams and potential turnaround a floundering company.