News Corp. purchases Beliefnet

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NEW YORK -- News Corp. said Tuesday it had acquired Beliefnet, a Web site focused on faith and spirituality, coming a day after rumors about purchasing LinkedIn were squashed.

The acquisition of the "world's largest spiritual Web site" was handled by Fox Entertainment Group and the site will become part of Fox Digital Media, led by president Dan Fawcett. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The purchase will provide Beliefnet with "vast resources" to further build out the site, which includes editorial content, social networking tools, devotionals and interviews with politicians and celebrities. The site will also utilize Fox Interactive Media's targeted advertising platform and will provide programming to News Corp.'s other businesses.

News Corp. said Beliefnet will allow for the expansion of its other faith-based businesses, which include a programming initiative from 20th Century Fox and HarperCollins' Zondervan and HarperOne brands, both publishers of religious books.

Beliefnet said it attracts about 3 million unique visitors each month and it circulates a daily newsletter to nearly 11 million subscribers. The company has partnerships with Time magazine and Yahoo.

The site is not affiliated with any particular religion and it caters to followers of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and other faiths.

Some observers expected Rupert Murdoch's conglomerate to finally acquire the rapidly-growing business-focused social networking site LinkedIn this week for around $1 billion. A deal had been rumored since last week but on Monday a source said takeover discussions were not taking place.

News Corp. has pursued an aggressive Web strategy ever since acquiring MySpace for $580 million in 2005.
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