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Exclusive: Daily Dot explores acquisition of Circa news app

The Circa News app as it appears on an Android tablet. (Photo: Circa/Handout)
The Circa News app as it appears on an Android tablet. (Photo: Circa/Handout)

Daily Dot Media, the parent company of the online news portal “The Daily Dot,” has held preliminary talks for a possible acquisition of the mobile-centric news app Circa, The Desk has learned.

Nicholas White, the Daily Dot’s chief executive and editor-in-chief, confirmed via e-mail that members of the Circa and Daily Dot Media teams met in San Francisco a few weeks ago for a “get-to-know-you meeting.”

“We discussed what they are looking for, what their goals are, where they are in selling the company,” White said. “We also spoke at length about the Dot too.”

In April, Fortune’s Dan Primack reported that Circa was seeking a buyer after the fledging news service failed to secure a new round of venture capital funding. According to Primack, Circa’s founder and chief executive Matt Galligan told staffers two months ago that the company was not merely interested in selling off it assets, but rather exploring an “acquisition process, and we’re talking with a number of interested parties.”

“One possibility is that we keep the brand,” Galligan said according to Primack’s report. “Another is that we apply our tech know-how to a different brand, or perhaps we integrate everything we’ve learned about the space and built so far in a way that the unique spirit of Circa lives on in another product… Our intent is to find the right partner to keep growing this idea.”

Galligan has not yet responded to an e-mail request from The Desk for comment. Ben Huh, Circa’s co-founder, also has not yet responded to a request for comment.

According to White, Circa “has had talks with several prospects as I understand it, so I expect they are going to find a good home.” Daily Dot Media is still deciding whether or not to “put our hat in the ring,” White said.

If Daily Dot Media did buy Circa, it would likely be the biggest get for the online news portal since it acquired the self-described “Internet tabloid” Kernel Magazine last year.

Circa, founded in 2012, has a staff of approximately two dozen people. Its editorial operations are split between New York City and San Francisco.

The Daily Dot was founded in 2011 and is based in Austin, Texas.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).