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SXSW: Mashable may be bought by CNN for over $200 million

Sources at South by Southwest have been abuzz about news network CNN's possible acquisition the social media website Mashable.

Petecashmore 120312Enlarge
CEO and founder of Mashable Pete Cashmore attends the 14th Annual Webby Awards at Cipriani, Wall Street on June 14, 2010 in New York City. Mashable is reportedly in talks with CNN, which reportedly wants to buy the social media news website for over $200 million. Cashmore denied the rumors in an e-mail to his staff. (Stephen Lovekin/AFP/Getty Images)

CNN is in discussions with social media news site Mashable to buy the company for over $200 million, according to Reuters.

The deal could be announced as soon as Tuesday, according to Reuters' blogger Felix Salmon. However, another person familiar with the matter said it was not likely to be announced this week.

The news is largely speculative, and has been fueled by discussions at the Austin-based media, music and film festival South by Southwest, Slate reported

Mashable, a seven-year-old, privately held company, covers and aggregates news about social media and technology. CNN.com is one of the most popular news websites in the United States, and its acquisition of Mashable would make a statement about CNN’s interest in start-ups and social media, the New York Times reported

On Monday morning, Mashable founder Pete Cashmore reportedly sent an e-mail to his staff denying that there would be an acquisition announcement this week, according to the Times. 

“Mashable’s one of the hottest brands here at SXSW and there’s bound to be rumors coming out of the festival,” Cashmore wrote, according to the Times. “We’ve had a great presence here and I look forward to updating you guys when we get back.”

Mashable's executive editor Adam Ostrow "liked" Salmon's Reuters story on Facebook, which added fuel to the rumors' fire, according to Slate. CNN's technology site also uses Mashable headlines, and features a column by Cashmore, the Guardian reported

Both companies declined to comment on the deal. 

"We do not engage in speculation about our business and we aren't commenting on these reports," CNN spokeswoman Christa Robinson told Reuters. 

Last fall, CNN.com acquired Zite, which created an iPad app that aggregates personalized content for its readers, the Times reported. The sale is estimated to have been between $20 million and $25 million. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business-tech/technology-news/120312/sxsw-mashable-cnn-deal