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Vivek Shah, who left Time Inc. (NYSE: TWX) as digital head at news division of Time Inc. last November, has been named as an independent board member of TheStreet.com. Like a lot of content companies, TheStreet (NSDQ: TSCM) has struggled to stanch the online ad declines, while trying to build up its paid subscription services. In an announcement going out today, TheStreet’s CEO Daryl Otte cited Shah’s 15-year tenure at Time Inc. as a “great benefit” as the company tries to drive both the paid and ad-supported sides of its business.
Shah’s last role at Time Inc. was as group president, Digital, for the publisher’s news, business and sports properties. When he departed Time Inc., which at the time, was in the midst of its latest major reorg, Shah was expected to take on something more “entrepreneurial.” While he’s maintained a fairly low profile the past few months, Shah’s decision to take a seat on TheStreet’s board is a sign that he clearly interested in attaching himself to an established media brand as opposed to starting something from scratch.
Rafat adds: Shah has been working with different private equity firms looking at various acquisition targets to run, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he did look at acquiring TSCM at some point in the past year. Of course, TSCM has been looked over by any and every player in the industry for a long time now. With a new management in place, an increasing emphasis on diversifying the revenue stream and moving away from reliance on founder Jim Cramer, the company thinks it can finally make a run at it, after being a second tier finance site for years. It also believes, from what I understand, that it will come out of the current SEC investigation around its Promotions.com deal unscathed. Remains to be seen; I remain skeptical on its chances.