Pending sale of videogame-news website IGN brings News Corp. one step closer to declaring “game over” on its digital-media portfolio.
News Corp. is in advanced discussions with Hearst to buy IGN rival UGO in advance of spinning off some combination of the websites. Deal was first reported by blog AllThingsD.
IGN represents the last asset in the News Corp. Digital Media division to either be unloaded or put on the road to divestiture. Under chief digital officer Jonathan Miller, the conglom has sold off Fox Mobile Group, Photobucket, Rotten Tomatoes, Beliefnet and a sizable portion of Fox Audience Network over the past 12 months.
The selloff has long been seen as a reflection of News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch’s disenchantment with the company’s acquisitions in the digital space. He brought in Miller to clean house and put the focus on either extending existing News Corp. brands on digital platforms or growing new properties inhouse, such as iPad-only news brand the Daily.
Another asset still hanging around in search of a buyer is MySpace, on which News Corp. chief operating officer Chase Carey placed a “for sale” sign last year. The struggling social network was repositioned as an entertainment hub, only to be shopped to private equity groups at a price estimated as low as $100 million — a far cry from the $580 million Murdoch paid in 2005.
IGN Entertainment was also bought in 2005, for $650 million. There had been speculation that IGN might somehow survive the sell-off because it was regarded as one of the few success stories in Miller’s portfolio.
News Corp. could also elect to sell separately websites within IGN’s network of sites, including FilePlanet and AskMen.
A News Corp. spokesman declined comment.