Time Warner Snaps up Bleacher Report

(Reuters) – Time Warner Inc said its Turner Broadcasting unit has bought sports website the Bleacher Report to bulk up the media company’s Internet sports presence, which includes websites such as NASCAR.com and NCAA.com.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed but a source close to the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly about it said Time Warner is paying under $200 million for the San Francisco-based company. The sports website will now operate as part of Turner’s Sports division, the company said in a statement.

Bleacher Report publishes more than 1000 articles a day on its website, which drew 10.1 million total unique visitors in June, according to ComScore. Bleacher Report was the ninth-most visited sports website in June in the United States in terms of total unique visitors, according to ComScore data. The top U.S. sports website is Yahoo Sports!, followed by ESPN.

Bleacher Report had raised $40.5 million in venture funding to date and was backed by firms such as Crosslink Capital and Oak Investment Partners.

In November 2011, Turner said it would hand over the business operations of Golf.com and Sports Illustrated’s website, SI.com, back to Time Inc, the company’s publishing division, in a process that took several months. The company said on a conference call last Wednesday that its cable networks division’s advertising revenue saw its growth hurt partly by “the shift of management of our digital sports properties, SI.com and Golf.com, back to Time Inc.”

Turner also shares broadcast rights to the NCAA Division I Men’s basketball tournament with CBS Corp and has a deal to manage NCAA.com’s website until 2024.

Time Warner shares rose 10 cents to $41.48 shortly after midday.

(Reporting By Liana B. Baker in New York; Additional reporting by Jennifer Saba and Richard Chang)

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