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.