Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) has confirmed that they have acquired Bleacher Report, a sports blog that receives around 86 million unique visitors per month. Bleacher Report will be integrated into Turner Sports, a division that manages digital properties for the NBA, NCAA, and PGA.
Turner Sports also oversees the ad sales for NASCAR.com and they have a relationship with Yahoo! Sports. The deal is rumored to be valued somewhere north of $175 million. The acquisition needed approval from the Federal Trade Commission. Bleacher Report raised $40.5 million in funding from investors like Crosslink Capital, Oak Investment Partners, and Hillsven Capital.
Bleacher Report has about 6,000 contributors and many of them write for free. The website was founded by David Finocchio, Dave Nemetz, Bryan Goldberg, and Zander Freund.
Below is a press release about the deal:
For Release: August 6, 2012
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Acquires Bleacher Report
Leading Sports Digital Property Joins Turner Sports Portfolio
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. has acquired Bleacher Report (B/R), one of the fastest-growing sports digital properties on the Internet, it was announced today by David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports of Turner Broadcasting. San Francisco-based B/R (http://www.bleacherreport.com) and its popular mobile offerings will now operate as part of the Turner Sports division.
B/R delivers original and entertaining sports editorial content and is a leading sports media destination, delivering over 10 million monthly unique visitors. The company has developed a next-generation publishing model powered by an expanding base of passionate and knowledgeable contributors who deliver high-quality content that readers crave at the team and topic level.
?Bleacher Report is a strategic acquisition that further enhances Turner?s portfolio of sports offerings, as well as reflects our continuing commitment to bring fans greater content across all screens throughout the entire year,? said Levy. ?As brand builders and content providers, we were attracted to Bleacher Report?s fast growth to a leading marketplace position and a valued consumer destination. The site will continue to innovate and provide users and sports fans with branded news and information. With our expansive digital rights and resources, Turner will further ensure Bleacher Report?s continued growth and success.?
Levy added, ?With the acquisition of Bleacher Report, we have added another dimension to our portfolio of digital and mobile properties that will enable us to offer our advertising partners integrated opportunities across all screens and demos that will enhance our ability to monetize sports programming throughout the entire year.?
?Bleacher Report was created to put fans first, and we are excited to integrate our innovative content publishing model and engaging multi-platform consumer digital media experience within Turner Sports? world-class television and digital content portfolio,? said Brian Grey, in his newly-expanded role as chief executive officer, Bleacher Report & senior vice president, Turner Sports. ?Together the portfolio will define how content creators, consumers and marketers come together around the sports team and topic content experience that fans will consume across every screen.?
Turner Sports currently manages digital properties on behalf of the NBA, NCAA and PGA, oversees ad sales for NASCAR.COM and has a strategic sales relationship with Yahoo! Sports. B/R will complement a preeminent collection of brands within the Turner Digital portfolio spanning entertainment, sports, kids, news and comedy destinations across broadband, mobile and tablet. The Turner Digital portfolio currently reaches 86 million unique visitors a month.
In addition to its digital portfolio, Turner Sports broadcasts a number of events year-round on TBS, TNT and truTV, including the NBA, MLB, NASCAR, the PGA Championship and the NCAA Division I Men?s Basketball Championship. Its on-air roster of announcers and analysts includes Marv Albert, Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Reggie Miller, Steve Kerr, Shaquille O?Neal, Cal Ripken, Dennis Eckersley, John Smoltz, Ron Darling, David Wells and Kyle Petty, among others.
Grey will continue to oversee B/R?s day-to-day operations out of its San Francisco offices and will report directly to Lenny Daniels, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Turner Sports. Together, Grey and Matt Hong, senior vice president and general manager of operations for Turner Sports, will partner in the overall management and integration of the Bleacher Report operations into the Turner Sports portfolio.
Dave Finocchio, founder and chief content & product officer, Bleacher Report & vice president, Turner Sports; Sam Parnell, chief technology officer, Bleacher Report & vice president, Turner Sports and Rich Calacci, Chief Revenue Officer, Bleacher Report & senior vice president, Turner Digital Ad Sales will all stay on board within their expanded roles.
On this transaction, Turner Broadcasting was advised by Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP and Bleacher Report was advised by RBC Capital Markets and Latham & Watkins LLP.
About Bleacher Report
Bleacher Report (B/R) is the Web?s leading publisher of original and entertaining sports content and is one of the fastest growing sports media Web sites in the U.S. Since launching in 2008, B/R?s Web site has grown to an audience of more than 10 million monthly unique visitors. The company?s distinguished editorial team leads more than 2,000 core contributors, and directs Bleacher Report?s unique data-driven approach to creating and programming content. The result is first-rate sports commentary that gives B/R?s audience the stories they want to read in real-time around the teams and topics they are most passionate about. B/R?s editorial content is also syndicated to a number of national and regional publishing partners including USA Today, Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun, Philly.com, San Francisco Chronicle, Houston Chronicle and Seattle PI. In addition, more than 2 million fans subscribe to B/R?s sport-and-team-specific email newsletters and more than 1 million users have installed B/R?s leading Team Stream? mobile and tablet app, which provide a comprehensive mix of content that engages a broad array of sports fans at the team and topic level.
About Turner Sports
Turner Sports, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., is an industry leader in televised and online sports programming, airing championship-level sporting events on TBS, TNT and truTV, and managing some of the most popular sports sites on the Internet. Turner Sports? television lineup includes the NBA, Major League Baseball, the NCAA Division I Men?s Basketball Championship, NASCAR and professional golf. The company?s digital portfolio includes NASCAR.COM, NCAA.com and March Madness Live, PGATOUR.COM and PGA.com, as well as an accompanying collection of mobile websites and connected device apps. Turner Sports and the NBA also jointly manage NBA Digital, which includes NBA TV, NBA.com, NBA LEAGUE PASS, NBA Mobile, the NBA Game Time App, NBADLEAGUE.com and WNBA.com.
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news; entertainment; animation and young adult; and sports media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.