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Atlantic Media on the Verge of Selling Quartz to Uzabase, a Little-Known Japanese Media Firm

Tokyo-based Uzabase has disclosed that it will pay between $75 million and $110 million for Quartz but it all depends on the amount of revenue made by the site over the remaining part of the year.

Uzabase goes back to ten years ago after it’s founding by two investment bankers and a consultant in IT who created their corporate data service. In 2013, the company ventured into the media sector with the launch of NewsPicks, a business news app.

The news app boasts of more than three million users and Uzabase reports that about a half of NewsPicks’ revenue emanates from subscriptions, which come at a monthly cost of $15. Last year, the company brought the app to the United States after teaming up with News Corp’s (NWSA) Dow Jones.

Uzabase now intends to magnify its international processes with Quartz. Quartz is known for its digital-only approach to business news and therefore focuses on readers who acquire their information via mobile devices as well as social media.

The media industry has recently been under pressure from big tech companies such as Google and Facebook which have powerfully gripped the digital ad industry. However, Quartz asserts that its success comes from a native advertising approach, whereby brands sponsor articles and products as opposed to making payments for regular display ads. The site says that it aims to raise adverting revenue by up to 35 percent this year.

As part of the Uzabase deal, Quartz will strive to make money from areas such as subscriptions. It will also be responsible for the English-language version of NewsPicks. Kevin Delaney, Quartz editor in chief and publisher Jay Lauf indicated that they expected the present products to remain free, but they were keen on offering premium content alongside other services.

Moreover, Quartz headquarters will remain in New York and its leadership will proceed with operations as usual both in the United States and Overseas. Quartz’s products include a website, mobile app, video content and email newsletters.

According to Uzabase, the deal will close in the next 30 days. Interestingly, the buying of Quartz by a Japanese firm comes three years following the purchase of the Financial Times by Nikkei, a Japanese publishing group.

In a press release, NewsPicks CEO Yusuke Umeda indicated that Quartz was the first news media company to integrate quality journalism with mobile technology successfully. He added that he was excited at the idea of entering a new chapter of NewsPick’s growth with a firm and a team that he respects so much.