Mail.com acquires Deadline Hollywood, $10-$15m price claims ORLY?

Mail.com media has acquired Nikki Finke’s Hollywood news blog Deadline Hollywood for an undisclosed sum. Under the deal, Finke retains editorial control, and the site will add new writers.

Mail.com may not be as well known as a content provider as AOL, but both companies share a similar strategy, building or acquiring content properties anchored around a key portal. More recently Mail.com relaunched Movieline.com with staffers from the Gawker Media site Defamer.

Acquisitions like this are always a positive sign for the blogging market, but the speculation on the acquisition price is something more special again. DailyFinance claims the acquisition figure was $10 million, and FT claims it was $15 million. PaidContent put the figure at low seven figures, and refers to the $10-$15 million figures as “fantastical.”

I’m betting that the low seven figure mark is by far the more likely acquisition price, only because we’re neither at the top of a boom, nor would the sites numbers suggest that it could possibly be worth $10-$15 million.

According to DailyFinance, Deadline Hollywood has done 65 million page views since launching over 3 years ago. At a clear split, that’s roughly 39 months at 1.66 million page views a month. Now page views are rarely static, and the site would have ramped up over time, except that public stats suggest that the site has actually gone backwards in the last 12 months.

hollyalexaAlexa is never a brilliant choice for stats, but it can pick up trends to some degree, because even in the totals aren’t right, they aren’t right for the full set. Notably the site also has an Alexa rating of 19,622. My guess is that it’s doing around the 2 million page view mark at the moment. Note that although Deadline Hollywood is industry focused, it also skirts celebrity and TV news, both high volume content areas that would help the Alexa ranking.

The audience is influential, so the ads would obtain a premium, but likewise in this market ad sales are still tough, and I can see ad network ads on the site as I write this. Lets say at a base, $20 CPM per page (not per ad), so $40,000 a month, at $40 CPM (which is likely a big stretch) it’s $80,000 a month at 2 million page views. An acquisition at $10 million would be at a multiple of 125x monthly revenue at $80,000 a month, a figure virtually unheard of for blogs (it’s 250x at $40,000 revenue). A $2 million acquisition with revenue at $40,000 a month is a 50x monthly multiple, higher than an average sale, but likewise given the premium audience, a far more likely figure.