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Comcast buys out Microsoft’s stake in MSNBC

Mon, 07/16/2012 - 3:08pm
Mike Robuck

Comcast has bought out Microsoft’s 50 percent stake in MSNBC.com and rebranded the site as NBCNews.com, which put to rest the long-standing relationship between Microsoft and NBC.

The New York Times, citing unidentified sources, said that Comcast paid roughly $300 million for Microsoft’s stake in the website that first launched in 1996.

"When MSNBC.com launched 16 years ago, it set the standard for how people consume news online – creating trends and leading the marketplace. Today, NBC News enters a new phase of its history better positioned to compete and grow in a digital environment, as well as deliver consumers and clients a multi-platform news experience unlike anything else in the industry,” NBC News President Steve Capus said. "We'd like to thank Microsoft for everything they've done for this partnership and for helping us build these properties into what they are today."

In addition to MSNBC.com, the deal also included Today.com, NightlyNews.com, BreakingNews.com, Newsvine.com, EveryBlock.com, and the existing apps and digital extensions of these respective properties.

All of NBC News' digital businesses, including MSNBC Digital Network properties, theGrio.com, NBCLatino.com, EducationNation.com, social media and all of the network's digital initiatives, were combined to form a new division called NBC News Digital.

The breakup frees NBC News to develop and reap the rewards of its own online site that is tied directly into its TV content. NBC News will also be able to launch apps and make the Web content available across various mobile devices.

NBC will also be able to offer cross-media sales to advertisers from its TV newscasts and online sites. Microsoft previously ran the ad sales part of the joint effort, according to The New York Times story.

MSNBC.com will be re-launched next year as a standalone website for the cable channel MSNBC, but for now it will redirect browsers to NBCNews.com.

Comcast acquired a majority stake in NBCUniversal last year.

Last week, Comcast/NBCUniversal announced it had sold its stake in A&E Television Networks to Disney and Hearst for $3.03 billion in cash.

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