News Corp. In Repeat With Sale To Local Tech Firm

Does this sound familiar? News Corp. spends hundreds of millions of dollars on a media property, runs it for about seven years, and then decides to unload that same property for a fraction of the price it paid to a Southern California technology--not media--company. MySpace? Well, could be. How about IGN? That appears to be the story (again) today, after news that Ziff Davis, the publisher owned by Los Angeles-based J2 Global, has acquired IGN. That deals loooks to be worth around $100M, based on reports from the WSJ. News Corp. acquired IGN in September of 2005, for $650M.

Those numbers--and the story--seems to be almost an exact repeat of the story behind MySpace, which--also in 2005, in July--was acquired by News Corp. in a $580M deal. In June of 2011, MySpace was sold for a mere $35M to another, Southern California technology firm--Specific Media, which has since been looking to remake MySpace with the help of Justin Timberlake.

Local technology firms here actually look to be the home to quite a few of News Corp.'s former digital ventures, with digital games distributor Direct2Drive (once part of IGN) now owned by Los Angeles-based videogame rental firm GameFly.

In the case of IGN and J2 Global, it's actually quite a surprising turn for publicly held J2 Global, which only two years ago was best known for its online FAX and communication services. However, around December of 2010 the firm began a series of acquisitions -- of a number of data backup provider, other EFAX providers, email marketing firms, unified communications, and more, culminating with the buy of Ziff Davis in November of 2012.

posted on Monday, February 4, 2013

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