The deal marks a dramatic change of fortunes for Tumblr, which Yahoo bought for $1.1 billion just 6 years ago, and then assimilated into the Verizon fold when the telecoms giant bought Yahoo in 2017.
For Automattic, Tumblr is the biggest acquisition yet in terms of product users and employees gained. The blogging and social networking website currently hosts 475.1 million blogs, for which Automattic will now assume operational costs. All 200 Tumblr employees will be moving over to Automattic, bringing the company’s total employee count to over 1,000.
Automattic doesn’t currently have plans to change the frontend Tumblr experience. Executives from both Tumblr and Automattic will “look for ways WordPress.com and Tumblr can share services and functionality.” Though, you shouldn’t expect any immediate changes.
As WordPress acquires Tumblr, the blogging website itself remains unprofitable despite hosting over 450 million blogs. But Automattic has pledged to maintain the adult content ban as well as take on all 200 employees.
Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg outlined a brief roadmap for Tumblr’s future that includes re-architecting its backend with WordPress:
“WordPress is an open source web operating system that can power pretty much anything, including Tumblr.com, but it’s also a large property so will take a bit to figure out and migrate,” he said.