Upworthy sells out to Buzzfeed. MindBodyGreen bought by Huffington Post. Now, elephant sells to… {April Fools’ edition}

Via elephant journal
on Apr 1, 2011
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waylon lewis elephant journal

Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp acquires Elephant Journal for millions—thanks to you.

Big news! With thanks to you all! It’s been a good run.

Elephant to merge with Gawker: after a long week of talks that ended in a “bidding war” between Buzzfeed, News Corp and Huff Post (which was also interested in acquiring Upworthy), elephant has agreed to partner with Huffington Post.

With a sale price reported at $42 million—a valuation Buzzfeed based on elephant’s incredible readership, not its anemic monetization—Waylon Lewis, founder, is set to

“take an overdue breather on a beach somewhere. Down the line, I hope to run for political office. That said, I have mixed feelings about this partnership—I’d hoped to remain independent and increase our quality and further our mission, to be of benefit to a wonderful but confused world in need.”

Billing itself as the world’s largest mindfulness web site, with a readership nearly equal to that of Huffington Post just four years ago, (when it sold to AOL for $84 million), elephant journal distinguished itself (in a bold move) from rival MindBodyGreen by pushing sex and relationships instead of smoothie and juicing recipes.

Note: I’ve asked for a stipulation in our agreement of sale: if elephant reaches 80,000 free newsletter subscribers (we’re at 45,000, now) by April 10th, I have the right to cancel our agreement with MindBodyGreen and continue to grow elephant’s mindful, independent journalism.

Subscribe, free, here if so inspired—ask your friends to do so? Go, community!

If elephant comes close but fails, Huff Post will be inheriting a stronger community. Either way, it’s a win-win for Buzzfeed.

Arianna Huffington : “we needed juicing and smoothies, so I acquired MindBodyGreen. But I also wanted woman-authored lascivious sex and top 10 relationship articles—so we went to the ‘mindfulness’ experts over at elephant.”

Elephant Founder Waylon Lewis explains his final meeting with Arianna:


Waylon Lewis square headshot

Letter from the founder:

Big News. This year, our 13th, will be my last with elephant. ~ Waylon Lewis

It’s with mixed feelings that I share this news.

Last June, elephant journal turned 12 years old.

In 2002 we started off as a little, local yoga magazine (Yoga in the Rockies), went regional, then national, where elephant magazine sold in Whole Foods, pharmacies, bookstores etc. for $4.99. But though we were printed on eco paper (New Leaf, generally) distributing a magazine nationally is eco-inefficient—your average magazine sells maybe 3 out of 10 copies. And so, 2.5 years ago, I resolved to start all over again, taking elephant online 100%. It’s been a tough ride: I lost my colleagues, my office, my house went into foreclosure…and I got old fast. But it’s been an adventure, I’ve learned a lot, and elephant has grown steadily—now to 17.7 million readers a month, and growing more every a month. We’ve been voted #1 #green on twitter twice, and have a Facebook presence more popular than some news orgs with 100x our staff.

But all things come to an end—or should I say, things change. This year, our 13th, will be my last with elephant. I’ve decided to partner with Yoga Journal—whose parent, Active Interest Media, is based in Boulder (so I won’t even have to move). I will continue to head up elephant as it merges with yogajournal.com, and will serve as YJ’s associate web editor and social media consultant. I’ll also do some video for them, for you fans of Walk the Talk Show.

elephant journal yoga journal sell out

I’m selling because, frankly, I’m tired of being broke. I’d like to travel for the first time in my life, continue on my Buddhist path (start by doing a long overdue meditation retreat) and eventually start a family.

Assuming that our readers might be a bit nonplussed, I’ve insisted on a stipulation in our agreement of sale: if elephant reaches 80,000 free newsletter subscribers by April 11th, I have the right to cancel our agreement and continue to nurture elephant’s unique brand of independent, mindful journalism. If we achieve this goal, that will likely mean we’re fully sustainable, and can afford to hire an additional editor to help improve the overall quality of our editorial.

YJ’s generously agreed to this unusual caveat partly because if elephant comes close but fails, they’ll be inheriting a stronger community. Either way, it’s a win-win.

The sale price and terms are, by law, public: click here for more information.

With thanks to all of you (especially those able to criticize or argue respectfully)—

Yours in Vision of Enlightened Society,
Happy April Fools’ Day!
~Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis
editor-in-chief, host
elephantjournal.com, Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis

Connect: Facebook (1000,000 fans) or twitter (100K followers on various channels, named #1 in US for Green in 2010)

You can subscribe to elephant here.



About elephant journal

elephant journal is dedicated to "bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society." We're about anything that helps us to live a good life that's also good for others, and our planet. >>> Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>> elephant's been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter's Shorty Awards for #green content...two years running. >>> Get involved: > Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter. > Follow us on Twitter Fan us on Facebook. > Write: send article or query. > Advertise. > Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive.


51 Responses to “Upworthy sells out to Buzzfeed. MindBodyGreen bought by Huffington Post. Now, elephant sells to… {April Fools’ edition}”

  1. M says:

    Funny….NOT! ;p