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CNN to buy Mashable for around $200 million, report says

Rumors of a potential acquisition swirl around this week's South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.

This could be the news of the 2012 South by Southwest: CNN is set to pay more than $200 million to buy social media blog Mashable, according to Reuters blogger Felix Salmon.

Salmon, who is attending this week's festival and conference in Austin, Texas, says that "a little bird" told him that CNN will announce the deal on Tuesday. If the deal goes through as rumored, it would be an amazing coup for Mashable founder Pete Cashmore, who founded the blog in July 2005. The site draws about 20 million monthly unique visitors

The New York Times confirmed the existence of the talks but quoted sources saying that the negotiations are not complete. For what it's worth, one of the editors at Mashable, Adam Ostrow, "liked" on Facebook, the Reuters story.

Assuming where there's smoke, there's fire, check out the following tweet from veteran publisher Alan Meckler, who says Mecklermedia had a deal t0 buy Mashable for a lot less five years ago-but doesn't get into details why the agreement failed to get consummated.

Update 8:45 a.m. PT: TechCrunch reports that Cashmore "is denying the reports to senior level Mashable editors," quickly adding "but that might not mean anything."