nettime's_roving_reporter on Thu, 3 Feb 2000 22:56:43 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> The Register: VA Linux owns Slashdot.org


<http://www.theregister.co.uk/000203-000025.html>


   THE Register: Biting the hand the feeds IT
   Posted 03/02/2000 5:57pm by Drew Cullen
   
   VA Linux owns Slashdot.org
   
   VA Linux is to buy Andover.net, owner of Slashdot.org, Freshmeat.net
   and a clutch of disparate Linux web sites, for $1 billion in shares
   and some cash.

   Speaking at LinuxWorld Expo, Larry Augustin, VA Linux CEO, said the
   company would pull the Andover sites into a "great developer community
   and resource online to drive Open Source".

   Well its certainly a way of building bulk rapidly -- so far as
   Linux-friendly eyeballs are concerned. The combined web sites will
   account for "two thirds of the total traffic of major Open Source
   sites, putting the combined network in the top 100 web destinations
   world wide". Andover.net brings 50 million page impressions per month
   to the party.

   In terms of the acquisition price, the deal's a more questionable
   proposition. Andover is a titchy company, turning over $2.1 million
   and losing $15.7 million (IPO costs account for most of the red ink)
   in Q3.

   Mind you VA Linux ain't much bigger - turning over $17.7
   million(losses: $14.5 million) in 1999. And its market cap is $5
   billion.

   Commercial success for the deal will depend on how well VA stitches
   Andovers Web properties into its own collection (including Linux.com
   and Themes.org). The enlarged company will also "increase the
   opportunity for sponsorships and business partnership revenues" across
   the network.

   The Open Source movement is throwing up a clutch of hybrid software
   developer-cum-media empires, lately. In November Red Hat launched
   Wideopen.com (The Register is a partner), and a damn fine news and
   comment site it is too , Andover.net is a hybrid publisher/software
   services site, as is VA Linux, with Linux.com.

   Right now there could more money flogging ads and sponsorship to a
   tightly targeted Linux demographic, than there is distributing the
   software. And why should ZD, CNET, IDG et al grab all the dough?
   We trust VA Linux and Red Hat will maintain their hands-off/open
   source kind of a relationship with their editorial titles. This may
   not be easy. Most publishers start out with good intentions, but they
   all turn into megalomaniacs. Can the Linux distros avoid this
   temptation? 



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