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Fandango Buys Rotten Tomatoes, Flixster

Online ticketing service Fandango has agreed to acquire Flixster and movie review-aggregator Rotten Tomatoes from Warner Bros. Entertainment for an undisclosed price.

Warner Bros. Entertainment will take an equity position in Fandango and become an ongoing strategic partner.

Fandango said Wednesday that the deal, along with its recent acquisition of on-demand video service M-Go, will expand its theatrical ticketing business and create “the industry’s premier digital network for all things movies.”

Fandango said Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes, which reaches 20 million unique visitors per month, will remain in their current form. It also said Fandango’s combined audience reach will grow to more than 63 million unique visitors per month.

Fandango will continue to operate as a unit of NBCUniversal.

“Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes are invaluable resources for movie fans, and we look forward to growing these successful properties, driving more theatrical ticketing and super-serving consumers with all their movie needs,” said Fandango president Paul Yanover.

“Our new expanded network will offer unparalleled capabilities for all of our exhibition, studio and promotional partners to reach a massive entertainment audience with innovative marketing and ticketing solutions that benefit from original content, home entertainment products, ‘super tickets,’ gifts with purchase, and other new promotional opportunities,” he added.

Flixster has more than 50 million app installs, and Fandango will be extending its ticketing capabilities to the Flixster app in the coming months. Together, Flixster’s and Fandango’s mobile app downloads total more than 100 million.

“Combining the expertise and assets of Fandango, Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes will create an incredible resource for consumers to fulfill all their moviegoing needs,” said Warner Bros. exec Thomas Gewecke. “Bringing these properties together into a single, integrated portfolio creates an opportunity to truly accelerate innovation in movie discovery and ticketing, making moviegoing an even more compelling experience.”

Fandango has been on an acquisition spree. In addition to buying M-Go from DreamWorks Animation and Technicolor, Fandango bought Brazilian ticketing site Ingresso in Septmeber. And in 2014, it bought YouTube network Movieclips.

Fandango said the Flixster Video home entertainment and digital video redemption service is not included in the transaction, but is expected to transition its users to Fandango’s new video on-demand service later this year and then be closed down. M-Go will be rebranded later this year and become part of Fandango’s digital network.

Fandango said it had a record-breaking year in 2015, with 81% growth in U.S. ticketing and more than 1 billion visits. Fandango MovieClips added 4 million new subscribers to its network of nearly 13 million, and saw a 54% jump in video views to 4.5 billion.

Rotten Tomatoes was launched in 1998 and acquired by Flixster in 2010. Warner Bros. bought Flixster in 2011.

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