By JP Mangalindan and Dan Primack
FORTUNE -- The future of influential tech website All Things Digital is close to being decided.
Reuters reported in February that AllThingsD co-executive editors Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg had begun discussions with owner Dow Jones, a subsidiary of News Corp. (NWS), about either ending or extending their partnership, which is set to expire on December 31.
Since then, Fortune has learned that AllThingsD is working with investment bank Code Advisors to find outside investors at an enterprise value that could exceed the $25 million that AOL (AOL) reportedly paid in 2010 for rival site TechCrunch. One source says that the asking price is between $10 million and $15 million for a 25% or 30% stake in the company.
Swisher and Mossberg appear to be steering clear of traditional venture capitalists and tech billionaires, likely in order to minimize potential conflicts of interest. Instead, their focus has been on finding a partner from the media sector.
So far they have received proposals from three media companies, one of which is said to be NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast (CMSCA). A fourth is circling, and it is possible that the final transaction could include multiple parties.
Other companies said to have been approached include Bloomberg, Condé Nast, and The Washington Post Company (WPO).
"It's not complex," Swisher told Fortune in a statement. "Walt and I are interested in taking the online journalism and conference efforts we have been successful at building over the last 12 years and expanding them. There are lots of ways to do that, and we are thinking about the best way to evolve what we believe is an even bigger opportunity in the years ahead."
It remains unclear if Swisher and Mossberg are seeking outside money because talks have completely broken down with Dow Jones, or because they are seeking leverage in the 11th hour of negotiations. One constant point of contention has been hiring flexibility, with prospective investors told that proceeds would be used to substantially increase headcount (including the addition of several new reporters and video producers).
Dow Jones officially owns the AllThingsD brand, website and content. It also manages the site's ad sales, but only Mossberg is an actual Dow Jones employee. Swisher and the rest of her AllThingsD editorial colleagues are contractors paid via an independent limited liability company. One scenario could involve the AllThingsD team leaving to start an independent venture with a new name, while Dow Jones retains the AllthingsD brand (and possibly the archived editorial content).
"Within News Corp., AllThingsD is very small in terms of money but very large in terms of profile," says a source familiar with the situation. "Rupert will probably make the final call on what happens."
The loss of Mossberg and Swisher would be a serious blow to Dow Jones.
Mossberg's Personal Technology column has run in the Wall Street Journal for over two decades, with Wired once stating Mossberg has the ability to "shape an industry's successes and failures." If a split does occur, Mossberg would likely give up his WSJ column in order to focus on AllThingsD.
A former WSJ columnist and current Vanity Fair contributor, Swisher cemented her reputation as an ace reporter, bringing exclusive scoops about Silicon Valley companies like Yahoo (YHOO). Mossberg and Swisher also co-host the popular "D" conferences, which are affiliated with AllThingsD.
Meanwhile, the WSJ is expanding its San Francisco bureau. According to Jonathan Krim, Technology Editor and San Francisco Bureau Chief for the WSJ and Dow Jones, the WSJ seeks to add more reporters to cover more companies and beats that include cybersecurity and big data. When asked whether other Dow Jones properties like AllThingsD influence the Journal's coverage, Krim answered simply, "It doesn't."
[Note: AllThingsD competes with Fortune and Fortune BrainstormTech conferences]
Apple's CEO exercised his ability to out-wait his interviewers at AllThingsD.
FORTUNE -- In trying to cover Tim Cook's roundly criticized performance at a major technology conference Tuesday evening near Los Angeles, reporters grasped at straws for kernels of news from the Apple CEO. The Wall Street Journal, for instance, whose parent company owns the conference, suggested Cook indicated a "wearable" computing product was imminent. (He merely called the segment "incredibly MOREAdam Lashinsky, Sr. Editor at Large - May 29, 2013 6:02 AM ET
The cofounder of Square is also logging a full workload at Twitter, down the street. His plans for both startups remain grand (think IPO, not buyout).
FORTUNE -- Twitter is not for sale. Jack Dorsey, the cofounder-turned-prodigal son made this clear in an interview Wednesday with All Things D columnist Kara Swisher at the D9 tech conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.
Instead, it's more likely an IPO is in the compay's MOREJessi Hempel, writer - Jun 1, 2011 9:23 PM ET
Notes from from an Apple watcher stuck on the wrong coast
Apple's (AAPL) CEO was scheduled to give the 6 p.m. PDT keynote at All Things Digital Tuesday night, but the show is running late and rumor has it that he's been pre-empted, at least temporarily, by Rupert Murdoch. Makes sense. Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher may think this is their show, but Murdoch -- as CEO of the News Corp. MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 1, 2010 10:03 PM ET
Cornered by a reporter, he lets slip a few more details about the iPad
All Things Digital's Kara Swisher, who carried a digital camcorder to Apple's (AAPL) iPad event for her BoomTown blog, has posted some rare footage of Steve Jobs in the crush of reporters at the foot of the stage after his presentation Wednesday.
It's framed as a kind of Walt Mossberg sandwich, with slices of the Wall Street Journal's MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jan 29, 2010 12:07 PM ET
By Yi-Wyn Yen
HALF MOON BAY, Calif. - Fortune's Brainstorm Tech conference kicked off Monday night with sharp-tongued bloggers ripping into each other and the companies they cover.
Moderator and Fortune senior writer Adam Lashinsky discussed the competitiveness of the blogosphere with Om Malik of Gigaom.com, Kara Swisher of the Wall Street Journal's (NWS) AllThingsD.com, and Robert Scoble of Scobleizer.com. He asked the trio what made their sites unique, which quickly devolved into MOREyiwyn - Jul 22, 2008 1:51 AM ET
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