Time Warner's Turner Unit Buys Sports Web Site Bleacher Report

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The deal, believed to be worth less than $200 million, will add to the TV arm's digital portfolio.

Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting unit said Monday that it has acquired sports web site Bleacher Report.

Financial terms weren't disclosed, but the deal is believed to have cost Turner less than $200 million.

The Bleacher Report adds to Turner’s digital portfolio, which includes the sites of the company's networks, including TNT and TBS, and sites it manages for third parties, such as NBA.com.

The Bleacher Report has in recent months reached about 10 million unique monthly visitors.

Brian Grey has served as CEO of Bleacher Report, overseeing the strategic direction and day-to-day operations. He will now add the title of senior vp, Turner Sports. He joined the firm after positions as senior vp/general manager of Fox Sports Interactive and general manager of Yahoo Sports.

Bleacher Report was founded in 2006 by "four life-long fans who'd consumed their fill of bland Internet sports content," according to its web site.

"Bleacher Report delivers digital media's most engaging content experience to sports fans all over the world," the site also says. "As we build on a growing audience of almost 40 million monthly visitors, you'll see us continue to combine vision with innovation in evolving a next-generation publishing brand."

David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports of Turner Broadcasting, announced the deal Monday afternoon. San Francisco-based Bleacher Report and "its popular mobile offerings" will now operate as part of the Turner Sports division, Turner said.
“Bleacher Report is a strategic acquisition that further enhances Turner’s portfolio of sports offerings, as well as reflects our continuing commitment to bring fans greater content across all screens throughout the entire year,” said Levy. “As brand builders and content providers, we were attracted to Bleacher Report's fast growth to a leading marketplace position and a valued consumer destination."
Levy added: "With the acquisition of Bleacher Report, we have added another dimension to our portfolio of digital and mobile properties that will enable us to offer our advertising partners integrated opportunities across all screens and demos that will enhance our ability to monetize sports programming throughout the entire year.”
“Bleacher Report was created to put fans first, and we are excited to integrate our innovative content publishing model and engaging multi-platform consumer digital media experience within Turner Sports’ world-class television and digital content portfolio,” said Grey. “Together the portfolio will define how content creators, consumers and marketers come together around the sports team and topic content experience that fans will consume across every screen.”

Grey will report to Lenny Daniels, executive vp and COO of Turner Sports. Grey and Matt Hong, senior vp and general manager of operations for Turner Sports, will partner in the overall management and integration of the Bleacher Report operations into the Turner Sports business.

Other Bleacher founders and top executives will also stay on board.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai