We hear from someone with knowledge of the deal that ContentNext, the company Rafat Ali sold to the Guardian News & Media group for a reported $30 mm, had revenues of “a few million” in 2007. (When we spoke with Ali, he declined to comment on any financial information.) The site does have a growing conference business and jobs section, and recently relaunched “research support” Ali tells us, but an estimated 10+ times revenues valuation seems high to us.
We’re not experts in business transactions — although we did learn a fair amount during mediabistro.com’s sale last year — and it’s hard to evaluate ContentNext’s finances without knowing more about the conference business (Ali says the “economy of scale” will make them cheaper to run), but in a struggling economy, the high value of this deal would seem to be based more on synergies with existing Guardian B2B properties (Emap perhaps?) than on ContentNext’s revenue stream. Or maybe Tim Brooks, the newish managing director of Guardian Newspapers Limited, just wants to make a splash.
Regardless, our sincerest congratulations go out to Ali.