The idea of of Nick Denton’s Gawker network merging or acquiring Henry Blodget’s Business Insider site came up recently after the two were seen having breakfast at Balthazar’s restaurant in New York, where both are based, and a source told Capital New York that the topic of discussion was a potential merger or collaboration. Those rumors got re-inflated on Wednesday when a BI writer said that the two would be announcing a merger on stage at the company’s Ignition conference.
When reached for comment via Gchat, however, Denton — who is always game for an IM conversation, which he says he prefers to traditional interviews — said that there was no truth to the rumors, and that he and Blodget had simply met for breakfast at Balthazar’s to have a chat.
The Gawker founder also hinted that Blodget might have his own reasons for encouraging the acquisition rumors, although he didn’t speculate as to what those reasons might be (although driving traffic to the conference and/or boosting potential takeover offers are likely among them).
Denton also said — as he has in the past when such rumors have come up — that he admires what Blodget has created at Business Insider and many members of the team there, and that “their journalistic ethos is consistent with ours.” The Gawker founder added that while he is not currently pursuing a bid for the company, he has told Blodget in the past to call if he is interested in selling, because he believes that Gawker might be a good fit for many of those at BI, including Blodget.
Denton noted that Gawker has an opening for an editorial director, and that Business Insider has “lots of good people and a strong editorial culture,” but he doubts that he would be willing to pay as much as AOL would — and he expects that a more likely outcome for Blodget would be to sell to AOL “or some other swamp,” and then Gawker could “rescue a few survivors.”
As a kind of homage to Business Insider, which is well known for its love of pageview-enhancing slideshows — and in honor of Denton, who loves IM conversations because of the transparency they allow — I’ve included screenshots of our chat here as a slideshow (click for a larger version).