Beliefnet, the NYC-based multi-faith community site which has been around since 1999 and has gone through Chapter 11 bankruptcy, has finally been bought. The buyer is News Corp…yes, the company has found faith, well, multi-faith, according to FishBowlNYC and since then also confirmed to us by sources. Beliefnet was launched in December 1999 and has been profitable since October 2002, according to the company…it raised a $7 million round from Softbank Capital in 2005. Lots more updates after the jump..
Meanwhile, another hot rumor, that LinkedIn was in talks with News Corp. (NYSE: NWS) may not come to fruition. Reuters (NSDQ: RTRSY) said in a story that the talks were not happening, and are talking about future partnerships only.
Staci adds: News Corp.-Beliefnet is not as far-fetched as it seems when you consider News Corp.’s faith-based efforts including Fox Faith, the 20th Century Fox line of movies aimed at the religious set and operating under Fox Home Entertainment, publishing houses HarperOne and Zondervan. (According to Christianity Today, some producers have complained about the marketing and promotion efforts behind the films.) Also, there are cable possibilities here and even digital video distribution. Over at SAI, some eyebrow raising at the fact that this is being handled by Dan Fawcett, head of Fox Digital Media, rather than Pete Levinsohn at FIM. Yes, it’s a website, but it doesn’t fit at all with FIM while Fawcett’s small group already makes deals that involve a number of entities across Fox. In fact, this marks the official start of an expanded role for Fawcett, whose background includes EVP-programming and business & legal affairs for DirecTV (NYSE: DTV) and EVP-business and legal affairs for Fox Cable Networks. His group will now be responsible not only for extending the Fox Entertainment’s cable, TV and film brands online but for finding new opportunities including acquisitions like Beliefnet.
— The deal does have a FIM tie-in: Beliefnet will be using FIM’s targeted ad delivery platform.
Update: The announcement is out. The acquisition is by the Fox Entertainment Group –no amount disclosed although I can confirm it’s a blend of cash and earnout — with Beliefnet becoming part of Fox Digital Media. As we wrote last night, Beliefnet fits in with Fox’s efforts in the fast-growing faith-based area: “The acquisition provides Beliefnet with vast resources to further build and enhance its already popular brand. It also offers an online platform for FEG to distribute content from its extensive media library and for News Corp. to expand its faith-based businesses, including HarperCollins