Time Inc. said Tuesday that it acquired FanSided, a sports entertainment and lifestyle network of more than 300 Web sites. The deal will help the company’s Sports Illustrated franchise reach a broader audience and deepen its coverage of the local sports market.
Time Inc. estimated that FanSided collectively attracts 15 million unique visitors and 50 million page views a month. FanSided, which was founded in 2009, also has a mobile app and personalized newsletters. Its c-level management team, including its chief executive officer, will work closely with SI. The financials of the deal were not disclosed.
The acquisition is just one of a handful to come, WWD has learned.
Time Inc. chairman and ceo Joe Ripp told WWD during an interview last week that his company is looking to make investments in live entertainment businesses. “We are looking at experiential companies right now — live media,” Ripp said. ‘We will be closing on some of those deals very shortly. We are looking at other acquisitions of other publishing-like companies.”
Ripp referenced Time Inc.’s 2013 acquisition of American Express Publishing as an example.
When asked if he would consider traditional publishers, he said, “There are the large publishers out there that I’d certainly be interested in. Normally when a business area is in a downturn, you see consolidation.”
He turned to the magazine business, adding: “I suspect there’s less of an opportunity in the magazine business because of private ownership — Hearst, Condé Nast, others, even Meredith, in essence are privately controlled.”
While Ripp explained that there’s “less of an opportunity” in magazines, he did note that should one of the privately held companies decide to sell off titles, he would be interested, as his company has “eliminated costs” and found “new revenue streams.”
There has been some recent speculation in the industry as to whether Condé Nast would spinoff more of its magazines, following its joint-venture deal with BeachMint last year, or if it would put itself up for sale entirely.
WWD asked Ripp if Condé Nast came to market, would Time Inc. be interested?
“Absolutely,” he replied.
By Alexandra Steigrad