Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Mysterious Company that Just Bought Newsweek

"We acquired Newsweek!!!"

So tweeted Etienne Uzac, CEO of IBT Media, over the weekend. He was certainly upstaged Monday afternoon when Jeff Bezos announced he was buying The Washington Post. Still, Newsweek is a big name, especially to be acquired by a company you've probably never heard of. And yet despite his new media property's high profile, Uzac's tweet was a dud, retweeted exactly once, loyally, by the managing editor of IBT's flagship website,

Uzac and his co-founder, Jonathan Davis, aspire to leadership of the digital media revolution. Their flagship Website -- International Business Times, at -- is among the top .02% of the 1,000,000 URLs monitored by Quantcost; it claims an online audience of over 7 million in the U.S. and 13 million worldwide. But when I added Uzac to my Twitter list Monday morning, I became only his 51st follower.

Who are these guys who hope to salvage one of the most storied institutions in American journalism, and so succeed where the Post (which owned Neewsweek for years), Tina Brown and Barry Diller failed?
Uzac, the CEO, turns 30 on August 7, on the one-year anniversary of his Wikipedia listing. He grew up in France and South Africa, carries a French passport, and studied geography and economics at the London School of Economics, where he became entranced with the new globalism. "We talked a lot about how the US and Europe were still rising but not as fast as the BRICS," Uzac tells Fortune. "I saw an opportunity to serve these non-Western countries with great information."

His partner and IBT's chief content officer is Jonathan Davis, a 31-year-old American who studied computer engineering as an undergraduate at UCLA and did time in Silicon Valley. (Davis is more popular, he has 77 followers, but he quit tweeting a year ago.) Together they launched what became IBT Media in 2006, with personal savings, a SBA bank loan, and no input, financial or advisory, from VCs. They say they've been profitable since 2010. Headquarters are in New York, with offices in Bangalore, Shanghai and Sidney. Total editorial employees: about 150.
Some reports have tied Uzac and Davis, personally and financially, to David Jang, founder of San Francisco-based Olivet University. Jang is a controversial figure. He may or may not believe that he's the second coming of Christ, according to an investigation by the evangelical magazine Christianity Today, but apparently many of his followers are convinced that he is.

No comments:

Post a Comment