But what difference does that make? According to Quantcast, Mashable pulls in around 16 million page views a month and has a robust audience that accesses the site's content through what it's really good at, social media. To me, that's what Mashable is all about. It's TechCrunch optimized for Facebook and Twitter. In my own experience, that's the only way I ever access Mashable content: by clicking on Twitter links from the Mashable account that features founder Pete Cashmore's handsome, and now quite possibly rich, mug.
Does it make sense? Actually, I think it's a bargain. CNN is SUCH a mature brand that for it to grow into social-media and a more modern type of tech coverage, it needs to either build a Mashable itself — or go shopping. Is $200 million too much to pay for 16 million PVs and 5 million monthly unique visitors? That's forty bucks per user per month. Bringing those readers into the CNN fold at that price is probably far less costly than what it would take CNN to develop a Mashable on its own (Mashable has been around since 2005).
This could also be a good deal for Mashable. After all, where does the site go from here, to obtain more growth? CNN is already one of its partners, so the bigger, more mature company would simply be inhaling a source of content — but spending so much to acquire it that it would be committing the the Mashable brand. It's unlikely that Mashable would be starved or fade away.
In other words, could work, and could be a bargain for CNN and a bonanza for Mashable. Now we just have to wait and see if it's for real or a SXSW rumor. Because if it is just a rumor....Well, awkwards.