TechCrunch, VentureBeat in merger talks

We hear Michael Arrington is in advanced talks to acquire VentureBeat, a smaller tech blog which, like Arrington's TechCrunch, is trying to expand from the niche of covering startups. When Arrington issued a rant about the dangers of tech blogs raising venture capital, it was easy to dismiss his talk of a blog rollup as drunken fantasy. Arrington's concern: That his competitors, by raising money one by one, would make it financially impossible to assemble a "dream team" of bloggers. But why on earth would anyone accept a lower valuation just to be part of Arrington's team? Arrington, we're told, has tentatively secured venture backing from Eric Chin of Bay Partners, a longtime business associate. That would give him the capital to buy up at least some of his rivals.

Even though Marshall has raised $320,000 for VentureBeat, he would obviously be the junior partner in any deal. Which points to the most implausible part of the two blogs' coming together: Would Matt Marshall, the Jimmy Olsen of the tech-blog world, really work for Arrington, who is surely its Lex Luthor?

Marshall and Arrington agree on perhaps only one thing: They're tired of handing a hefty share of ad revenues over to John Battelle's Federated Media, the ad network which represents both blogs. Combining forces might give them enough traffic to justify hiring some of their own salespeople. Is that worth putting up with Arrington's tirades and outbursts? If talks progress, Marshall would do well to ask for an Arrington premium. Would it not be ironic if the biggest obstacle to realizing the TechCrunch editor's dream proved to be Arrington himself?

(Photo of Arrington via Gagglescape; Marshall via Bub.blicio.us)