Daily Mail Open to Further Acquisitions, but Calls Valuations a Bit Lofty

Publisher Martin Clarke Says Prices Have Gotten Too High

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Daily Mail purchased the millennial-focused digital media site Elite Daily in early 2015 for a reported sum of $40 million to $50 million. The company would be interested in making another, similar purchase, but prices are a little too high right now, publisher Martin Clarke said at the company's NewFront presentation in New York on Thursday.

"I wouldn't rule out acquisition of other properties like Elite Daily at the right price in the future," Mr. Clarke told U.S. editor-at-large (and former CNN host) Piers Morgan in an on-stage interview.

Mr. Clarke also said he's interested in opening additional Daily Mail news bureaus around the U.S. The U.K.-based company currently employs about 200 journalists in the country, he said.

Asked by Mr. Morgan about the Daily Mail's U.S. ambitions, Mr. Clarke replied, "Part of the vision would be this, to see so many people show up for our NewFront." (The room was packed.)

While Daily Mail is famous for re-packaging content, sometimes to the chagrin of rival news outlets, Mr. Clarke made a pitch for shoe-leather reporting. "There's no substitute for being there, being on the ground and actually talking to people," he said.

Thursday's presentation was light on news, compared to other NewFront presentations that were jam-packed with micro-announcements. But, in addition to reality TV star and businesswoman Bethenny Frankel, Daily Mail had a big-name guest in Snapchat VP-Content Nick Bell, who came -- for a second year -- to extoll the company's virtues.

"The reason I'm back is because the success has continued," Mr. Bell said, referring to the Daily Mail's Snapchat Discover channel. He praised the channel's content mix, and said the Daily Mail takes advantage of the platform opportunity provided by Snapchat. (Later in the evening, NowThis had Snapchat Editorial Development Manager Charlotte Palermino as a guest at its own NewFront.)

Elite Daily Executive Producer Tyler Gildin said the company plans to delve into interactive video. The company has already had a lot of success with more conventional video forms. According to numbers provided by the company, Elite Daily brings in 74 million video views every month.

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