Sale Talks Collapse

Merger talks between, a pioneer in online news and opinion, and, a news aggregation Web site founded by a journalist, Michael Wolff, have collapsed, according to people involved in the talks.

Micheal Wolff founder of Newser
Micheal Wolff founder of Newser, which had quietly put itself on the auction block in recent months, had been in negotiations to be sold to Newser, these people said, but the talks broke down over price.

The discussions progressed far enough that the two businesses shared detailed financial information with each other and the deal was discussed among’s directors, said these people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the conversations were intended to remain private.

The talks faltered just after The Huffington Post sold itself to AOL for $315 million, which raised questions among’s board members about whether they were selling for too low a price. Terms of the deal could not be learned.

“We had a number of interesting offers, but we’ve decided instead to move forward with other plans, including continuing to invest in the business,” said Richard Gingras, chief exective of the Salon Media Group.

Mr. Wolff, who is also a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and editorial director of AdweekMedia, the umbrella brand of Adweek, Mediaweek and Brandweek, said the companies were not in talks, but declined to comment further.

A sale would have brought together two media companies that have little in common. Salon, which began publishing in 1995, existed before many news organizations saw the value of putting their content online. It hired its own staff of journalists to report and write on politics, culture and breaking news. Newser culls news articles from across the Web and summarizes them in two paragraphs or less. It began in 2007.

Salon has been looking for ways to help stem its losses, which have grown in recent years.

Like other news and commentary Web sites that operate on their own, Salon has come to realize the benefits of being part of a bigger media company. When Arianna Huffington sold The Huffington Post to AOL, she heralded the deal as the surest way to guarantee the site could continue to grow. The Daily Beast, a news and politics site run by Tina Brown and Barry Diller, recently merged with Newsweek this year in large part because Mr. Diller said he saw more potential for profit if the business had both online and print outlets.

Michael J. de la Merced contributed reporting.