News Corp has acquired New York based religious community site Beliefnet, according to a report at FishbowlNY.
Beliefnet was founded in 1999 and provides a service that offers commentary and community discussion on various religious beliefs. The company has a checkered history, having declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April 2002, then restructuring and emerging from bankruptcy in October the same year. According to earlier reports, around 70% of the sites traffic is related to Christian interests, with around 70% of users being females, and the most popular age group being 35 to 45. Beliefnet raised $7 million from Softbank Capital in 2005.
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
In related news, a “source fimilar with the matter” has told Reuters that News Corp is not in negotiations to buy LinkedIn, rumors of which first surfaced on TechCrunch UK in November. The source claimed that News Corp was in talks with LinkedIn, but the two companies had been discussing future partnerships, not a takeover. With the Dow Jones (Wall Street Journal) acquisition being finalized a partnership between News Corp and LinkedIn would make a lot of sense; the premium business sites from Dow Jones provide a high-wealth business focused demographic that would sit well with LinkedIn’s business networking product.
Update: sources at Fox Interactive are saying they know nothing about the deal; this isn’t to say that its not happening but it is a little strange. The site may have been purchased by another part of News Corp.
Editor’s Update: More scrounging around has confirmed that the deal indeed is about to be officially announced.
Editor’s Update 2: The deal is official. Beliefnet was bought by the Fox Entertainment Group, News Corp’s cable arm, to distribute content from its faith-based programming initiative and from its religious/spiritual book imprints Zondervanand HarperOne. Dan Fawcett, president of Fox Digital Media, did the deal.