News Corp. To Acquire Online Game Company IGN Entertainment - InformationWeek

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News Corp. To Acquire Online Game Company IGN Entertainment

The $650 million deal is the latest in a series of Internet deals for the media company.

News Corp. on Thursday said it has agreed to buy online video-game company IGN Entertainment Inc. for $650 million in cash, the latest move in the media company's strategy to expand its Internet reach.

The acquisition is part of the New York-based News Corp.'s plan to build a strong web presence to promote its movies and television programs under the Fox brand. Other Internet companies recently acquired by News Corp. include Intermix Media Inc., which owns the popular MySpace.com community web site; and Scout Media Inc., which owns more than 200 web sites that focus on college and other sports news. The latter is being added to the FoxSports.com network.

The IGN deal, along with the company's other acquisitions, would up News Corp.'s U.S. web traffic to nearly 70 million unique monthly visitors, making the company the fifth most trafficked presence on the web, according to News Corp. The latest transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter, pending regulatory approval.

IGN, based in the San Francisco Bay area, would join Intermix and Scout Media as a part of News Corp.s' Fox Interactive Media unit. Mark Jung would continue as IGN chief executive, reporting to Ross Levinsohn, president of Fox Interactive Media.

Besides expanding News Corp.'s web presence, the IGN acquisition is expected to increase the "cross-promotional opportunity" for News Corp.'s other Fox brands, including the movie division and television network. In this way, News Corp. is able to better tap the Internet for pushing products from its other divisions.

"By acquiring IGN and its compelling sites, we now have top entertainment sites to go along with FOXSports.com, as well as our myriad news sites, headlined by FOXNews.com,” Rupert Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of News Corp., said in a statement.

IGN’s major video game-related sites include IGN.com, GameSpy, GameSpy Arena, FilePlanet, TeamXbox, 3D Gamers, Direct2Drive, GameStats.com and a number of web sites within the Vault and Planet networks. IGN also owns two entertainment web sites focused on movies, IGN FilmForce and Rotten Tomatoes, and a male lifestyle web site, AskMen.com.

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