Ailing social news-sharing site Digg has been sold to a tech firm based in New York City named Betaworks. Even if you've never heard of Betaworks, there's a good chance that you've used one of its services before. The company owns URL shortening site bit.ly, as well as news.me, socialflow, and chartworks. Now the company is adding Digg to its portfolio.
The interesting part of this story is that no one seems to know just how much Digg was sold for. While initial reports bandied about the (quite low) figure of $500,000, other sources that say the figure was much higher than that. According to AllThingsD, Digg CEO Matt Williams has since confirmed that "the overall consideration is significantly larger" than $500,000. What's more TechCrunch sources that the total price of the Digg acquisition was around $16 million.
So, what's going on? Well, going on TechCrunch's report, it seems Betaworks has only acquired the remaining assets of the social company, with Digg having sold other parts of the company to LinkedIn and the Washington Post prior to yesterday's announcement. According to TechCrunch, the Washington Post acquired the Digg team ($12 million), while LinkedIn bought numerous patents (roughly $4 million). Thursday's deal saw Betaworks fork out between $500,000 and $725,000 for domain, code, data and all the traffic. It plans to license any required patents from LinkedIn going forward.
What is Betaworks going to do with Digg now that it's got it? According to the official Digg blog, Betaworks is combining Digg with News.me, which already has an iPad app, iPhone app and daily email that delivers stories shared by your friends on Facebook and Twitter direct to your device. CEO Matt Williams writes that "Betaworks founder John Borthwick will be the CEO of the new Digg," which we take to mean there's going to be significant changes. Indeed, Williams said in his blog post that Betaworks plans to launch a new cloud-based version of Digg to complement the current News.me iPhone and iPad apps. Williams' next stop will be Andreessen Horowitz as Entrepreneur in Residence.