Japanese media company Uzabase Inc is selling Quartz, a U.S.-based online business news publisher, to its co-founder and editor-in-chief about two and a half years after Uzabase acquired the website in a transaction worth up to $110 million.
The terms of the sale, which Quartz confirmed on Monday and took immediate effect, have not been disclosed.
After Quartz operations suffered from the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, the sale by Uzabase, who bought Quartz from Atlantic Media in 2018 in a move to boost business overseas. Quartz laid off about 80 workers earlier this year, having posted 188 at the end of last year.
Quartz co-founder and Chief Executive Zach Seward is partnering in a management buyout to operate the publication as a private company with editor-in-chief Katherine Bell, currently, a minority owner, Quartz spokesman Ashley Huston said on Monday.
Uzabase’s filings show that Quartz posted a loss of $18.6 million for 2019 and a loss of $11.2 million in the first half of this year, based on earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.
In a personal capacity, Uzabase Chief Executive Yusuke Umeda agreed to provide debt funding for the new venture, which will also pursue external investment.
A relative unknown in the U.S., the Japanese financial intelligence and media company paid between $75 million and $110 million in cash and stock for Quartz, related to the platform meeting those financial targets. As it seeks development beyond Asia, the deal was meant to boost Uzabase ‘s U.S. foothold.
According to people familiar with the matter, the online business news platform Quartz was placed up for sale just over two years after it was purchased by a Japanese financial intelligence and media group.
In mid-2018, the firm, Uzabase Inc., agreed to buy Quartz in a cash-and-stock deal that could have been worth as much as $110 million depending on whether the site reached certain financial objectives. Uzabase only paid for $86 million ultimately.