Two huge gaming themed web site networks are reportedly planning to merge. According to a report on the Wall Street Journal's AllThingsDigital web site, IGN Entertainment, owned by News Corp, has plans to acquire UGO.com and its network of sites from Hearst Corporation. The report cites unnamed sources but so far the deal has yet to be officially announced by either IGN or UGO. The article claims the deal will be revealed "within the next few days." If true the merger would create a massive web site network devoted largely to covering the video and PC game industry. According to traffic data from ComScore 1GN has 19.7 million US visitors while UGO.com has 13.1 million.
But that's not all. The report also says that sometime after the merger of IGN and UGO is completed News Corp plans to spin off IGN Entertainment into its own separate company. The hope is that IGN will grow more quickly on on its own rather than under News Corp's ownership. IGN is already doing pretty well with the report claiming that it expects to bring in $100 million in revenue in 2011 with $10 million in profit. IGN might acquire more web sites before the planned spin-off. News Corp could also try to bring in outside investment money before it breaks IGN off which the report states is still months away from happening.
Acquired by News Corp back in 2007, IGN Entertainment owns IGN.com which focuses mostly on console and PC game coverage although there is some coverage of movies, TV, hardware and comics. It also owns the Direct2Drive PC game download store, the FilePlanet file download site, the men oriented site AskMen.com, and the GameSpy web site and game development software tools. UGO.com was acquired by Hearst in 2007. In 2009 UGO acquired the 1Up.com family of game-themed web sites from Ziff Davis.