The Athletic Hires LionTree to Find Buyer

    • The Athletic has hired investment bank LionTree to help it find a buyer.
    • The media outlet is seeking a valuation of more than $750 million.

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The Athletic has hired investment bank LionTree to help it find a buyer at a valuation of more than $750 million, according to The Information. 

The subscription-only sports media outlet has around 1.2 million subscribers and received a post-money valuation of $530 million following a funding round last year. LionTree hopes to have bids submitted for The Athletic by mid-October. 

  • The Athletic is on track to pocket nearly $80 million in revenue in 2021, a 50% increase year-over-year. 
  • The company expects revenue to reach $120 million in 2022.
  • Since 2016, it has raised roughly $145 million in venture funding, according to PitchBook. 

The Wall Street Journal reported in March that The Athletic and Axios were in talks to merge and potentially go public, but the sports media outlet “halted” talks to shift its focus toward the New York Times.  

The Athletic engaged in negotiations with the New York Times, but a potential deal dissolved in June over money and a disagreement on how to compensate the sports site’s employees for their equity in the company, per The Information.

Fanatics reportedly held talks about acquiring the outlet in recent months, as well.

The Athletic laid off roughly 8% of its workforce in June 2020 and reshuffled its editorial structure in January. The company employs roughly 600 people.