CNN looking to buy Mashable?

CNN iPad App

As this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) new media extravaganza gets into full gear this week in Austin, reports are emerging that television news outlet CNN is in talks to buy the social media-centric news site Mashable for $200 million or more. First on the story was Reuters’ Felix Salmon, with the New York Times quickly confirming that talks were underway. Salmon reports that an official announcement could come as early as Tuesday, although other sources allegedly familiar with the matter do not expect an announcement this week.

CNN declined to comment on the reports; Mashable did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

CNN pioneered the cable news television field — the full name is Cable News Network, after all — but has been looking to evolve its business more fully into Internet media as the audience for traditional and cable television has dwindled while consumption of Internet-based and mobile media skyrockets.

Mashable was founded in 2005, and the site’s coverage runs the gamut of topics related to the Internet and social media, with strong coverage of startups and major firms like Facebook and Twitter.

If the deal goes through, it’ll be CNN’s second recent buy into digital media in the last several months: in August 2011, the company bought Zite, an magazine-like iPad news application.