7 Responses

  1. Bryan Petty

    While Matt has noted before the company is not up for purchase, if they were it would no doubt fetch billions of dollars (hello no-revenue-generating Tumblr) and be extremely attractive to some of the biggest companies in the world.

    Except that since their primary products are entirely built around a brand that isn’t actually owned by the company, no-one would be interested in buying it. Without the security of knowing you own the trademark your company is mostly dependent on, what is it worth if you’re forced to re-brand your company’s biggest products?

    Matt would be required to either include the WordPress Foundation in the deal, or include the trademark from the foundation if he ever actually wanted to sell Automattic for a respectable price. The latter option would effectively dissolve the foundation (whose primary purpose is to protect that trademark), tarnish his name for doing something he vowed to never do years ago, and be a huge blow to the open source project that would likely be forced to fork itself under a new name, and still make the Automattic purchase worth significantly less even with the trademark attached (since the trademark itself would be worth significantly less without the community behind it). Selling the foundation with it instead would imply that the community would need to be supportive of the deal for fear of new WordCamp rules, organizational changes, and a new BDFL making decisions on the open source project (who may not be as benevolent as you hope). If you watched what happened when Oracle aquired the OpenOffice.org trademarks, you know the risks involved there.

    Basically, I don’t believe Matt could actually cash out on Automattic even if he wanted to in it’s current state (or it would at least be incredibly difficult to). That’s just my assessment of the situation though.

    1. Jason Coleman

      I think Automattic/WordPress Dot Com is worth quite a bit even without the core “WordPress” trademark.

      That said, Automattic is heavily tied to the open source project and any acquisition would have to think about how to maintain the connection, as WP+Automattic is worth more together than either one by itself… although both are still valuable on their own.

      p.s. I enjoyed your writing in this one Brian.

    2. Matt

      There’s absolutely no reason why the Foundation would need be included in any acquisition, that would defeat the purpose of creating it in the first place. That sort of faulty reasoning leads later to faulty conclusions.

  2. passerby

    > takes the reigns

    Reins, please.

    Horses have reins, kings have reigns.

    Thank you.

  3. Phil Simon

    Glad I read this. Aside from keeping up on things, I have a HuffPo piece tomorrow with “take the reigns” erroneously in there.

    #knowledgeisgood

  4. FinLit

    Doing some long term investments in the field of information technology is really worth it because its the digital age and it will grow strongly.

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