Japan's Uzabase sells Quartz news site to co-founder, editor-in-chief

(Reuters) - Japanese media company Uzabase Inc 3966.T is selling loss-making U.S.-based online business news publisher Quartz to its co-founder and editor-in-chief nearly two and a half years after Uzabase bought the site in a deal valued at up to $110 million.

Terms of the sale, which was confirmed by Quartz on Monday and takes immediate effect, were not disclosed. The news was reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal.

The sale by Uzabase, which bought Quartz from Atlantic Media in 2018 in a move to boost business overseas, comes after Quartz operations suffered from the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this year Quartz laid off about 80 employees, having reported staffing of 188 at the end of last year.

Quartz co-founder and Chief Executive Zach Seward is partnering with editor-in-chief Katherine Bell, currently a minority owner, in a management buyout to operate the publication as a private company, Quartz spokesman Ashley Huston said on Monday.

Uzabase’s filings show that Quartz reported a loss based on earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $18.6 million for 2019 and a loss of $11.2 million in the first half of this year.

Uzabase Chief Executive Yusuke Umeda agreed, in a personal capacity, to provide debt financing for the new company, which will also seek outside investment, the spokesman said in an emailed statement.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell