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.

Additional Stories

Trump impeachment trial recap, day 7: Trump's team closes its case

Members of Trump's legal team leave the Capitol on Monday. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Trump's legal team closed out its opening arguments during the seventh day of his Senate impeachment trial on Tuesday.

The big picture: Republicans spent their three days of arguments lamenting the facts that form the basis of the trial — claiming they don't rise to the level of an impeachable offense — and accusing Democrats of pushing forward a plot to subvert the will of American voters and remove the president from office.

What's happening with the coronavirus

132 people have died and 5999 others are confirmed to have contracted a coronavirus strain that originated in Wuhan, China, the country's National Health Commission said late Tuesday.

The rising death toll and case numbers come as a charter flight evacuating some Americans from China due to the virus has departed, per Bloomberg.

This story and map will be frequently updated with breaking news. See below for our latest coverage.

NPR reporter defends 1st Amendment rights after Mike Pompeo encounter

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

NPR's Mary Louise Kelly authored a New York Times op-ed Tuesday about her encounter with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and why she's refused to back down on her reporting.

What they're saying: "There is a reason that freedom of the press is enshrined in the Constitution," Kelly said. There is a reason it matters that people in positions of power — people charged with steering the foreign policy of entire nations — be held to account. The stakes are too high for their impulses and decisions not to be examined in as thoughtful and rigorous an interview as is possible."

Australian lab first to grow Wuhan virus outside China

A screenshot of the coronavirus grown in a lab in Australia. Photo: Doherty Institute

Scientists in Melbourne, Australia have become the first to recreate the Wuhan coronavirus outside of China.

Why it matters: It's a "significant breakthrough," which will enable accurate investigation and diagnosis of the virus globally, per a statement by the Doherty Institute released Tuesday morning (ET), from where the virus was grown. It's hoped it will help efforts to treat the virus.

McConnell says Republicans do not yet have the votes to block witnesses

Sen. Mitch McConnell. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told his caucus Tuesday that Republicans currently lack the votes needed to block witnesses from being called in the impeachment trial against President Trump, but are hopeful they could get there by Friday, three sources familiar with the closed-door meeting tell Axios.

The big picture: Most Republicans have tried to avoid calling witnesses, and just a few days ago it looked like their efforts would be successful. But bombshell revelations from former national security adviser John Bolton's forthcoming book have swayed more GOP senators in recent days, with some signaling they're more likely to vote for witnesses than before.

Pompeo confirms U.S. green light for Israeli annexations in West Bank

Photo: Janek Skarzynski/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told me in an interview today that the U.S. will support Israeli annexations in the West Bank, as long as they're consistent with the maps presented in the U.S. peace plan.

Why it matters: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he'd bring plans to annex the Jordan Valley and all settlements in the West Bank before the Cabinet on Sunday. He would not have taken such a dramatic step without U.S. backing.

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Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg steps down

Mindy Ginsburg. Photo: Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Fortune

Mandy Ginsberg on Tuesday announced that she is stepping down as longtime CEO of Match Group, the owner of online dating sites including Match and Tinder.

Driving the news: Ginsberg told Match employees in an internal email, obtained by Axios, that her decision was more personal than professional, as a tornado had recently made her home "unlivable" and that she has had health issues, including a surgery just last Friday.

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