News Corp. announced today that it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire IGN Ent. Inc, a leading community-based Internet media and services company for videogames and other forms of digital entertainment, for approximately $650 million in cash. IGN and its network of sites would then be folded into News Corp.s Fox Interactive Media unit.
News Corp. previously announced, and is in the process of closing, its acquisitions of Intermix, with its highly popular MySpace.com website, and leading college sports destination Scout Media, which will further enrich the companys successful FOXSports.com.
The company estimates the addition of IGN, Intermix and Scout Media to the existing Fox-branded sites, will increase News Corp.s U.S. web traffic to nearly 70 million unique monthly users and more than 12 billion page impressions per month. The combined sites will also provide a powerful cross-promotional opportunity for Foxs television and film content and enable the company to more efficiently introduce new products and services using its web presence.
IGNs major videogame-related properties include IGN.com, GameSpy, GameSpy Arena, FilePlanet, TeamXbox, 3D Gamers, Direct2Drive, GameStats.com and a number of websites within the Vault and Planet networks. IGN also owns and operates two entertainment web properties focused on movie-related content IGN FilmForce and Rotten Tomatoes and a male lifestyle website, AskMen.com. In addition, it provides technology for online game play in videogames.
Rupert Murdoch, News Corp. chairman/ceo said, With the acquisition of IGN and its 28 million unique users, we have gone a long way toward achieving two of our key strategic objectives in our efforts to become a leading and profitable Internet presence. First, we have significantly enhanced our online reach, strengthening our position as the fifth most trafficked presence on the web. We also become the fourth largest network in terms of monthly page impressions. And second, we have furthered our strategy to leverage the unique competencies the company enjoys with its news, sports, and entertainment assets to create a leading Internet destination. 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.
We believe that Fox Interactive Media is an ideal fit with IGN Ent., said Mark Jung, IGN Ent. ceo. With this combination, our users will enjoy access to a broad array of content and services covering video games, music, movies, sports and news, and our advertisers will benefit from enormous reach into a highly sought-after demographic. We are thrilled with this acquisition and cant wait to get started.
The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2005. The transaction is subject to all applicable regulatory approvals. Jung, will continue in his role at IGN, following the completion of the acquisition and will report to Ross Levinsohn, president of Fox Interactive Media.