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Reddit strikes AI content deal with Google ahead of IPO: Sources

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) — Social media platform Reddit has struck a deal with Google to make its content available for training the search engine giant's artificial intelligence models, three people familiar with the matter said.

The contract with Alphabet-owned Google is worth about $60 million per year, according to one of the sources.

The deal underscores how Reddit, which is preparing for a high-profile stock market launch, is seeking to generate new revenue amid fierce competition for advertising dollars from the likes of TikTok and Meta Platform's Facebook.

The sources were not authorized to speak to media and declined to be identified. Reddit and Google declined to comment. Bloomberg previously reported Reddit's content deal without naming the buyer.

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Last year, Reddit said it would charge companies for access to its application programming interface (API) - the means by which it distributes its content. The agreement with Google is its first reported deal with a big AI company.

San Francisco-based Reddit, which has been looking at a stock float for more than three years, is preparing to make its initial public offering filing this week, which would detail its financials for the first time to potential IPO investors.

The filing could be available as early as Thursday, two of the sources said.

The company, which was valued at about $10 billion in a funding round in 2021, is seeking to sell about 10% of its shares in the offering, Reuters has previously reported.

Reddit's stock market launch would mark the first IPO of a major social media company since Pinterest floated its shares in 2019.

Pali Bhat, chief product officer at Reddit, answers questions from Laura Nestler, vice president of community at Reddit (not pictured), during the Reuters MOMENTUM event, held to discuss the development and use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Austin, Texas, U.S. July 12, 2023.  REUTERS/Nuri Vallbona
Pali Bhat, chief product officer at Reddit, at a Reuters event on development and use of AI in July. REUTERS/Nuri Vallbona (REUTERS / Reuters)

Makers of AI models have been busy clinching deals with content owners in recent months, aiming to diversify their training data beyond large scrapes of the internet. That practice is rife with potential copyright issues as many content creators have alleged that their content was used without permission.

Founded in 2005 by web developer Steve Huffman and entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian, Reddit is known for its manifold niche discussion groups, some of which boast tens of millions of members.

(Reporting by Anna Tong in San Francisco, Echo Wang in New York and Martin Coulter in London; Additional reporting by Jeffrey Dastin; Editing by Anirban Sen, Krystal Hu and Edwina Gibbs)