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The New York Times company has agreed to buy Wordle, the daily word game that became an overnight sensation – the news company’s latest move to boost its products and reach its goal of 10 million digital subscribers by 2025.

Josh Wardle, a software engineer from Brooklyn who created Wordle as a gift to his girlfriend, sold the site to The Times for a price in the “low seven figures”.

The Times has built up the world’s largest online subscriber base for news in recent years, helped by rising subscriptions to its cooking and gaming products. The company’s Games app, which includes a daily crossword puzzle, hit 1 million subscribers in December.

The acquisition follows The Times’ $550 million purchase of Athletic, the loss-making sports website, earlier this month, which has 1.2 million subscribers. It was the paper’s biggest buy in nearly three decades as chief executive Meredith Kopit Levien raced toward the company’s 10 million subscriber goal. At the end of the third quarter, the group had 8.3 million subscribers.

“The Times remains focused on becoming the essential subscription for anyone English-speaking seeking to understand and interact with the world,” the company said. “The New York Times Games are a key part of that strategy.”

Since its launch in October, Wordle has grown in popularity, with “millions” of people playing daily, according to the Times. The game is simple: every day, there are six chances to guess a five-letter word. A new puzzle is updated every morning and the website gives players an easy way to share their results online via a colorful grid.

Learn more about the Wordle sale here

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