US “online newspaper” The Daily Dot has acquired UK-based The Kernel, a publication that fittingly bills itself as “the Internet’s favourite tabloid,” for an undisclosed sum. Following the deal, Kernel founder and editor-in-chief, Milo Yiannopoulos, will step down but maintain an advisory role.
The Kernel has had a short but colorful history. Launched in late 2011 as a technology publication, it quickly gained a reputation for fierce campaigns against individuals and groups in the European tech community, which often seemed more like personal vendettas by Yiannopoulos than public interest exposés of wrongdoing.
In March 2013, the publication folded amid controversy over operating company Sentinel Media failing to pay former staff and freelance contributors. These debts were later settled personally by Yiannopoulos.
The Kernel returned five months later, backed by German VC firm Berlin42. Initially promising to cover areas such as “modern warfare, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, pornography and space travel,” it quickly pivoted to its current ‘tabloid’ focus. Recent articles on the site include ‘Baiju: The Chinese Bribery Booze’ and ‘Predicting The Future With Asparagus’ – it’s fair to say that it’s not really a tech publication any more.
“I think we found our voice,” Yiannopoulos says. “Very few media brands command loyalty among young, Internet-savvy people because very few media brands deserve to. We tried to build one, and we think combining our forces with The Daily Dot gives us the best chance of reaching the most people with the stories we know they love.”
So why the quick sale? “Given how similar the missions of The Daily Dot and revamped The Kernel were, it was sort of inevitable that we’d end up having a chat about pooling resources,” Yiannopoulos says. “In the end, we approached Daily Dot Media and it all happened very quickly. It feels like a very natural fit. I think the combined strength of our two editorial teams will represent a journalistic force to be reckoned with.”
The Daily Dot’s director of business development, Carla Cook tells us that the Kernel, which employs eight full-time editorial staff and says that it reaches 500,000 unique visitors a month, will continue unchanged for the time being. “How The Kernel will ultimately be integrated into the Daily Dot Media family is still being determined, but it is a key part of plans to deliver new offerings geared to a wider audience of Internet consumers.”
As for Yiannopoulos, he’s going to take some time off but plans to remain in the publishing business. “It’s where I belong. Specifically, I like launching and leading things, so I guess before too long I’ll be thinking about doing this all over again.”