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Playful jabs between heads of Gawker and Business Insider spurs potential merger, partnership rumors

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November 14
5:58 AM 2013

News agency The Observer noted that quips between founder Nick Denton of blog collective Gawker Media and Business Insider editor and chief executive Henry Blodget at a media conference this week.

Earlier, when The Observer asked Denton about his take on the merger rumors, he said in an email, "We had breakfast, as we regularly do. I admire Henry Blodget, Joe Weisenthal and Business Insider's editorial management. They'd have more fun with us than at AOL, where they'd be yet another unhappy unit. And they're having fun with the possibility alone."

Rumors about a potential Business Insider and Gawker merger swirled when Denton and Blodget had breakfast. Both Capital New York and The New York Post ran stories about discussions regarding a consolidation of both companies.

At Business Insider's "Ignition: Future of Digital" conference, both Denton and Blodget took turns criticizing the content of their companies, but had not addressed the merger rumors directly.

Denton responded to Blodget's comment, who was referring to the supposed consolidation, "You know what I mean...BuzzFeed's ambition is to build a big media company, and they're very good. They're very professional. But to build a company or to have an exit or to flip I don't believe is sufficient motivation. If you take them (BuzzFeed) at face value, they say they're building a large media company to keep. I don't think that's a good way to build anything meaningful. If you start to think like that, if you start to think just about the money or commercial success, then you don't really have any internal mission that keeps you going through tough times."

Buzzfeed is a website which uses a technology platform to detect viral content and combine them with editorials in real time.

On the other hand, Denton explained that Gawker will have some sort of partnership with Business Insider. The Observer said Business Insider would be using Gawker's Kinja platform for the former's comments management.

Denton explained at the conference after Blodget asks about Kinja, "It's a discussion system. We call it a collaborative publishing platform. The idea is, you can have an article, and a reader can submit a criticism of the article...they can ask questions of the author...but the process is collaborative. The testing, the criticism, the questions, the tips, the gossip, is [created] not simply by somebody who is calling up a journalist or IMing a journalist, it's taking that process and putting that process out in public."

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