Verizon agrees to sell Tumblr to owner of Wordpress

Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images

Verizon is set to sell the social network Tumblr to Automattic Inc, the owner of online publishing tool Wordpress. A source familiar with the deal puts the price-tag "well below" $20 million, while another source puts it below $10 million.

The big picture: Tumblr, while unprofitable, hosts more than 450 million blogs and was once considered a major player in the social media space. The network was acquired by Yahoo for $1.1 billion in 2013, before moving under Verizon's umbrella through the carrier's acquisition of Yahoo in 2017. Verizon's desire to sell Tumblr had been previously known, but as of May, Pornhub had been the only bidder to show public interest.

Automattic Inc. will buy the network and take on its 200 employees.

Between the lines: Tumblr has faced backlash over the years for not properly monitoring pornographic content, which Verizon ultimately banned last year. Automattic's Chief Executive Matt Mullenweg told the Wall Street Journal that he plans to maintain the ban.

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State Department circulates talking points contradicting Trump on Syria

U.S. military vehicles drive on a road in the town of Tal Tamr on October 20, 2019, after pulling out of their base. Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department distributed talking points to American embassies on Oct. 17 that included warnings that Turkey’s military offensive against Kurds in northern Syria is undermining counter-ISIS efforts and endangering innocent civilians, Vox's Alex Ward reports.

Why it matters: The talking points contradict President Trump's optimism about the Turkish incursion that followed his decision to remove troops from northern Syria. They indicate that members of his administration, especially career diplomats, are worried about the long-term consequences of the decision.

Pompeo says he "never saw" Ukraine aid as tied to political investigations

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that he "never saw" the suspension of military aid to Ukraine as being tied to pressure to open investigations into Democrats, telling George Stephanopoulos that he'll leave it to acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney to "explain what it is he said and what he intended."

Mulvaney attempts to clean up comments on Ukraine quid pro quo

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said on "Fox News Sunday" that reporters misinterpreted comments he made on Oct. 17 about President Trump conditioning $400 million in aid to Ukraine on its government opening political investigations.

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