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The $100 Million Blogger

By Tim Beyers - Updated Apr 5, 2017 at 8:05PM

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Who says there's no money in media?

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.

Get your clicks with related Foolishness:

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Amazon is a Stock Advisor selection. Microsoft is an Inside Value pick. Google is a Rule Breakers recommendation. Try any of these Foolish services free for 30 days. There's no obligation to subscribe.

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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Stocks Mentioned

Microsoft Corporation Stock Quote
Microsoft Corporation
MSFT
$291.91 (1.70%) $4.89
Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
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Amazon.com, Inc. Stock Quote
Amazon.com, Inc.
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Gannett Co., Inc. Stock Quote
Gannett Co., Inc.
GCI
The New York Times Company Stock Quote
The New York Times Company
NYT
$33.74 (-3.74%) $-1.31
The McClatchy Company Stock Quote
The McClatchy Company
MNI

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