Automattic, Owner of WordPress.com, Acquires Multiservice Messaging App Beeper for $125M


Automattic, the parent company of WordPress.com, has finalized the acquisition of Beeper, the firm behind the iMessage-on-Android solution referenced in the Department of Justice’s antitrust lawsuit against Apple. The deal, valued at $125 million according to insider sources, marks Automattic’s second acquisition in the cross-platform messaging realm following its purchase of Texts.com last October.

As part of the acquisition, Eric Migicovsky, the founder of Pebble smartwatch and a Y Combinator partner, assumes the role of head of Messaging at Automattic, succeeding Texts.com’s founder Kishan Bagaria. While organizational updates and Bagaria’s new title remain undisclosed, he will continue contributing to Beeper alongside Migicovsky.

The consolidation of Beeper and Texts.com’s teams, consisting of 25 and 15 members respectively, aims to amalgamate the strengths of both companies’ products into a unified platform. According to Migicovsky, Beeper will become the overarching brand for all messaging endeavors at Automattic.

The acquisition underscores Automattic’s wager on the future of messaging being open source and interoperable across services, diverging from proprietary platforms like Meta’s WhatsApp and Apple’s iMessage. Beeper’s eventual transition plan involves migrating users to its own chat protocol, Matrix, an open source protocol focused on messaging.

Migicovsky explained that the decision to sell Beeper stemmed from the substantial operational costs and the necessity to secure additional funding. Beeper had previously raised $16 million in funding, including a Series A round led by Initialized. The alignment of Automattic’s commitment to open source technology and Beeper’s ethos, where half of its product is already open source, facilitated the acquisition.

Beeper’s recent discussions with the Department of Justice revolved around Apple’s obstruction of its newer app, Beeper Mini, designed to bring iMessage to Android. Due to Apple’s actions, Beeper Mini is no longer receiving updates.

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