News Corp. unloads Beliefnet

Website carried religious, spiritual content

News Corp. said Friday it has sold Beliefnet, a website it purchased three years ago that caters to a community seeking spiritual content based on a large number of religions and even atheism.

News Corp. had been operating Beliefnet as a subsidiary of Fox Digital Media and Fox Entertainment Group. Advertisers at the site have included the major film studios as well as ABC, CBS, NBC, HBO, TLC, TNT, Discovery Channel and Harpo Prods.

Beliefnet was acquired by BN Media, an entity that includes the investors behind Affinity4 and Cross Bridge; the former is a marketing company whose clients include DirecTV, and the latter is an online service for nonprofit organizations.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

In a letter to Beliefnet employees from COO Beth-Ann Eason announcing the acquisition, she wrote: "We have also taken the difficult step of cutting a number of jobs from Beliefnet's staff."

Beliefnet says it is "the largest multifaith inspiration and spirituality website," with some 9 million opt-in subscribers to its e-mail list. The company has partnerships with the Wall Street Journal and Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Eight months ago, Beliefnet co-founder and president Steven Waldman left the company to become senior adviser to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski.