The $100 Million Blogger

What's a blog worth? Try $100 million. That's the prevailing wisdom regarding The Huffington Post, a political blog-cum-Internet newspaper that has proved popular with liberal voters.

This week, the blogger announced $25 million in new funding that, according to sources quoted by The Wall Street Journal's Kara Swisher, values the firm at a little "south of $100 million." If correct, it's a coup for the site, albeit an unsurprising one.

Consider the timing. Questions linger over the short-term health of online advertising, which could impede Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) quest to become a new media mogul. Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) , meanwhile, denied showing interest in Yahoo!'s search business, and Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) killed its Alexa search engine. Taken together, these reports suggest there could be fewer opportunities to monetize blogs in the not-too-distant future.

Even so, The Huffington Post's valuation appears reasonable, given what the Web's social superstars -- Facebook and recession-proof Twitter -- fetch today:

Company

Employees

Valuation*

Value Per Employee*

The Huffington Post

46

$100

$2.17

Twitter

30

$150

$5.00

Facebook

700

$3,750

$5.36

Sources: Press reports, TMF estimates.
*In millions.

All three are news aggregators in some form but, of them, only the Post specializes in creating content. How does the site stack up against old-media rivals? Pretty well, I'd say:

Company

Employees

Market Cap*

Value Per Employee

Lee Enterprises

8,100

$37.4

$4,617

Journal Communications (NYSE: JRN  )

3,750

$120.97

$32,258

McClatchy (NYSE: MNI  )

14,307

$161.57

$11,293

New York Times (NYSE: NYT  )

10,231

$1,050

$102,629

Gannett (NYSE: GCI  )

46,100

$1,950

$42,299

Sources: Capital IQ, Yahoo! Finance, TMF estimates.
*In millions. Please note that here, value per employee is not in millions.

Color me unsurprised. Old media isn't as crucial as it once was. Twenty years ago, as a young sportswriter, I was stringing together awful clips in exchange for soup money. Now I write for soup and sandwich money for a family of five.

And slow, stodgy, just-the-facts old media is being replaced by real-time, edgy, sometimes erroneous, yet increasingly valuable new media -- including outlets like The Huffington Post and (ahem) The Motley Fool.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers had stock and options positions in Google at the time of publication. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy went ink-barrel-tipping last night.


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