Flickr, Smugmug And Others Bidding To Buy JPG Magazine Says TechCrunch

Flickr, Smugmug And Others Bidding To Buy JPG Magazine

TechCrunch is reporting that Flickr, Smugmug, Alexander Muse, WordPress and apparently others (TechCrunch says 20 potential buyerys) have all been involved in a bidding war over JPG Magazine and reports that it looks like a transaction will close shortly.

Matt Mullenweg denies that WordPress has ever had any conversations about anything like this in the comments of the post.

Don MacAskill seems to suggest on Twitter that SmugMug was at least interested but that they’re now unlikely to bid:

From Don:

“JPG Magazine may be saved! The other bidders have much deeper pockets, so we’re unlikely to bid afterall, but if something happens.

We were going to turn JPG Magazine back over the community, try to run it at a small loss, and mostly do our best to keep it from extinction.”

For what it’s worth, I doubt that you’ll see anyone acquire JPG Magazine for any serious money at all. JPG was a money losing proposition (unfortunately) and not very many people are going to be interested in a money losing magazine at this juncture in a recession.

Although JPG had an online presence, the online part of the business was pretty weak to start with. It really was the idea that you’d get published in a very polished magazine and get $100 that interested contributors more than the online side of the site.

Mike Arrington suggests that fans are going to want to see JPG go to Flickr. But I seriously doubt Flickr would buy JPG. First off, why would Yahoo want to part with cash?

Secondly, even if Flickr ran the print magazine JPG at a loss in order to enhance the cachet of Flickr, it could very seriously backfire on them. You can only print so many photographs in a magazine a month and everyone who submitted photos that got rejected would feel bad. There’s enough bitching already around Flickr about who gets photos in “Explore” and who doesn’t that I can’t imagine an even more exclusive magazine distinction would do much for the competitive esprit de corps at the site.

Finally, if Flickr really wanted to do a magazine, well, they’d probably just do one and call it something like, well, Flickr. It’s a better brand name and it’s not like the JPG name carries some sort of magical cachet with photographers that a Flickr title wouldn’t.

I just don’t see it happening with Flickr.

Speaking of Halsey Minor, JPG’s major investor, JPG employee Jason Defilippo didn’t have very kind words for him according to one commenter Jack McGuire in the comments of the TechCrunch article. McGuire quotes Defilippo as twittering: “I loathe Halsey Minor. Billionaire douchebag. He killed 8020 along with Ron Palmeri. Brothers in douche.”

Update #1: Alexander Muse adds a blog post about his offer to buy JPG here.

Update #2: In the comments section to this post JPG investor Ron Palmeri responds to Alexander Muse’s offer as well as the comments made on Twitter by Jason Defilippo. He also reprints portions from an email where he says that JPG has 20 interested parties in the venture.

Update #3: Heather Champ (who works for Flickr/Yahoo) writes that “we (Flickr) are not and never have been interested in bidding on JPG. One shouldn’t believe everything one reads on the internets.”

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  1. After Friday JPG really just cut off negotiations. They didn’t try to get more money from us, they just went dark. I assume someone must be offering something Minor Ventures wants and as a result they aren’t really interested in a deal with us. But I guess keeping us ‘around’ may help their negotiations with whoever the buyer will be. If your post is correct, it is sort of sad… But I guess the whole thing is sort of sad…

  2. Anonymous says:

    cache != cachet

  3. Ron says:

    @Alexander Muse – maybe I misunderstood your mail copied here:

    Ron, Got it. We are not interested in offering a cash component. Of course, we believe our offer will provide the best upside to the shareholders in a future market, but I understand the desire to cash out now if at all possible. Our offer stands. — Alexander Muse

    On Jan 5, 2009, at 11:20 AM, Ron Palmeri wrote: Alex – we’ve got over 20 interested parties and are only considering offers that have a cash component at acquisition. the deadline for offer submission is Wed close of business CA time. I’m happy to review a revised offer if you so choose.

    From: Alexander Muse [] Sent: Monday, January 05, 2009 8:58 AM To: Mitchell Fox; Ron Palmeri; Devin Poolman Subject: Following up… Based on the lack of communication I assume you all have everything taken care of – i.e. found a buyer? I have told my lawyers to stand down. I am available today if necessary, but I would appreciate some level of communication regarding the process.

    – but it is pretty clear you were trying to get something for nothing. we’re just seeking the best outcome for JPG and the community.

    regarding @jpdefillippo – I’m not sure how putting a ton of money into an idea kills it, but everyone’s entitled to their own little soapbox on the Web, I guess that’s what Twitter is for…