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Condé Nast came close to buying tech review site Digital Trends for $120 million, but the deal isn’t happening

Lots of publishers are focused on Facebook, but the 10-year-old site is very good at Google.

Digital Trends media kit
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Condé Nast was close to adding another web publisher to its stable, but the deal fell apart in the final stages.

Sources say Condé Nast was in advanced talks to acquire tech review site Digital Trends, but say the deal broke up in the past week or so.

A source familiar with the deal says Condé was willing to pay $120 million for the 10-year-old, Portland, Ore.-based company, which is expected to generate $30 million in revenue this year and around $6 million in profit.

Digital Trends doesn’t have a flashy public profile, but it has been growing rapidly — comScore says it attracted 11.6 million U.S. visitors in June, up 31 percent in the last year.

Unlike other digital publishers, Digital Trends is not focused on using Facebook or other social platforms to expand its audience. Instead it is very good at using Google’s search results to drive traffic to its reviews of TVs, phones and cars.

Condé already owns tech sites Wired and Ars Technica, and it recently announced that it would support Backchannel, a small tech site founded by writer Steven Levy.

No word on what happened to scuttle the deal.

Condé Nast declined to comment. Digital Trends CEO Ian Bell denied his company had been in talks with Condé Nast, but said the company is periodically approached by would-be buyers. Bell and co-founder Dan Gaul own most of the company.

“For Dan and I, we’re super-picky, and it has to be the right partner. And if it’s not, we’re walking away,” he said. “We own the business. It’s been bootstrapped, and it’s profitable. If it’s not a right fit for employees, then we’re going to walk.”

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