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Flipboard acquires Zite in deal with CNN

The company behind the popular cross-platform news reader app Flipboard has acquired rival app Zite, it was announced Wednesday.

The deal sees ownership of Zite transfer to Flipboard from CNN, and also involves the launch on Flipboard of custom magazines linked to a number of CNN shows.

The precise terms of the deal have not been revealed, though an unnamed source with knowledge of the takeover told Bloomberg that CNN would be getting “a small equity stake” in Flipboard. Some news outlets have also been reporting that $60 million changed hands, though this hasn’t been confirmed.

Flipboard’s acquisition of Zite is notable in light of Facebook’s recent launch of Paper, an iPhone app that has some similarities to Flipboard in terms of both design and content.

Announcing the news to Flipboard users on the company blog, founder and boss Mike McCue said it had acquired Zite “to address something we’ve heard from a lot of you: although you can already read thousands of sources from over 20 regions on Flipboard, you want easier and better ways to discover content about the things that matter to you.

“Adding Zite’s expertise in personalization and recommendations to Flipboard’s product experience and powerful curator community will create an unparalleled personal magazine for our millions of readers.”

The Zite app will remain available to users for at least the next six months, though once its technology has been fully integrated into Flipboard, the news reader will be phased out.

Zite co-founder and CTO Mike Klaas said in a blog post announcing the deal that his team is developing a way for Zite users to transition their data to Flipboard, to save having to start over.

“We are all committed to creating something ever better at Flipboard,” Klaas wrote in the post, adding, “I’m not going to lie: I feel a tinge of nervous excitement when I think what we will build together.”

Flipboard, which launched on iOS in 2010, allows users to ‘flip’ through news stories presented in an elegant magazine-style format put together from news feeds chosen by the user. The app launched landed on Android in 2012, helping to push its user base to beyond 90 million.

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