At the time, media critics balked at the valuation given The Messenger’s meager web traffic and dire financials.
The deal — which would include funding from Garrett Ventry, a Republican political operative, Ryan Coyne, founder of digital media agency Starboard; and George Farmer, the former CEO of Parler who sits on the board of Britain’s conservative news network GB News — would require Finkelstein to give up control.
Nevertheless, sources told The Post that the site lured in just 12.5 million unique visitors in November — which is far less than the 100 million monthly readers and $100 million in revenue that Richard Beckman, the site’s recently departed president, told the New York Times last March.
The documents disclosed that the site took in $2 million in direct ads and $1.8 million in programmatic advertising last year. Most of the company’s quick cash burn has been linked to spending $39 million on hiring, the documents said.
Other expenses included over $240,000 a month in rent for offices in New York, Washington DC and West Palm Beach, Florida, with expenses related to travel, meals and entertainment ballooning to more than $1.7 million by the end of 2024.
They also revealed that without additional investment, The Messenger predicts its ending cash balance by June will be negative $16 million.
The Messenger has had a bumpy ride in its short-lived existence.
After the site launched, journalists began fleeing the Messenger, griping that they joined the site to do original reporting but that they were mostly aggregating clickbait news stories in order to drum up traffic for ad dollars.
The site’s journalists also have chafed over Finkelstein’s close relationship with Donald Trump, questioning a directive from editors to take down stories on the former president’s civil fraud trial in New York so as to not overwhelm the homepage, Semafor reported.