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Purch Acquires AnandTech in Continued Push to Connect Content and Commerce

December 22, 2014 | By Michelle Manafy, Editorial Director – DCN @michellemanafy
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With its acquisition of AnandTech, Purch continues to put its money where its mission is. Since it rebranded from TechMedia to Purch last April, the company has steadily continued to build up the ways in which it can “ease complex buying decisions for shoppers.” Fitting neatly into the buying funnel, AnandTech further enhances the reviews component of the ever-growing Purch stable of sites, joining its Top 10 Reviews, the Tom’s brand of tech media sites (purchased last year) and BuyerZone (purchased in June).

Anandtech.com is known for its computing and IT analysis and reviews, with an emphasis on mobile, which the company feels will round out Tom’s Hardware coverage. “AnandTech will be complementary, more than competitive, to Tom’s” says Purch COO, Doug Llewellyn. “The world is going more mobile. These guys got there early and do it better than anyone else.”

However he emphasizes the importance of what the two brands have in common: loyal, engaged audiences of tech enthusiasts. “With acquisitions, we always look at the user community and the people driving that community,” according to Llewellyn, pointing out that Purch focuses on the connection of content, community and commerce. He also says that the feeling across Purch is one of admiration and respect for AnandTech’s rigorous reviews process as well as its writers and editorial team, who will be staying on as part of the acquisition.

AnandTech Editor-in-Chief Ryan Smith–who took the role after the site’s founder Anand Lal Shimpi’s retired from journalism to join Apple in August–wrote a lengthy post about the search for a buyer. In it, he says Shimpi spent almost a year meeting with potential buyers to find one that had a sustainable business model (particularly given that AnandTech has been profitable since inception) and could improve the site’s reach. They also sought a buyer that had values that aligned with theirs. Smith found the process hearting, noting recent investments from traditional and new media, as well as VCs in the business of creating high quality content.

Smith writes that, “In meeting with the Purch business and editorial teams, there was a clear interest in further developing AnandTech’s strengths as well as feeding back AnandTech’s learnings into the rest of the Purch family.” Llewellyn echoes this, pointing out that through the Tom’s acquisition, “we learned a ton from how they do things and you can see the effect across our entire portfolio.” He feels confident that Purch “can bring enormous expertise on how to scale a brand, given that Tom’s was a third, or maybe only a quarter the size it is today when we acquired them last year.”

And scale, as well as advertising sales and marketing acumen are things that Smith clearly looks forward to increasing under Purch: “While we had no issues competing with larger corporate owned sites on the content front, when it came to advertising we were at a disadvantage…larger corporate owned sites could show up with a network of traffic, substantially larger than what AnandTech could deliver, and land more lucrative advertising deals than we were able to.”

Given that Purch boasts the number one position in ComScore’s Tech-News category, a global readership of more than 100 million monthly unique visitors, and the ability to drive more than a billion dollars in commerce transactions every year, increasing scale for the AnandTech brand should not be a problem. “We are really attuned to how marketers want to reach and speak to readers,” says Llewellyn. “But as we tie this great brand to the portfolio of brands under Purch, we definitely want to be sure that the readers know are excited to support the best of breed content that AnandTech is known for.”

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