Fandom acquires TV Guide, others from Red Ventures

The Charlotte, North Carolina office complex of marketing firm Red Ventures is seen in an undated handout image. (Photo courtesy Red Ventures, Graphic by The Desk)

Fandom, a San Francisco-based online publisher of entertainment and technology guides, has acquired several marketing blogs operated by Red Ventures, according to a report.

The deal, first reported by the Wall Street Journal on Monday, is valued around $55 million and includes TV Guide, Cord Cutters News, Comic Vine, GameSpot and other websites.

The purchase price is around 10 percent of what Red Ventures paid to acquire TV Guide and GameSpot as part of a bigger purchase of CNET Media Group from Paramount Global two years ago, but it is significantly more than what Red Ventures paid for Cord Cutters News around the same time.

In June, The Desk reported Red Ventures was in the process of winding down Cord Cutters News as an editorial website as part of a strategic shift that saw significant consolidation across its web properties. The report said Cord Cutters News would remain online, but that the overall day-to-day editorial operation would shift to TV Guide.

Since the report, Cord Cutters News has published the occasional press release and monthly title release for a handful of streaming services, but the majority of Red Ventures’ streaming coverage has been published on the TV Guide website.

It is not clear how Fandom intends to operate both services. While TV Guide publishes editorial content, Cord Cutters News largely exists as a marketing blog where written content is used to convince consumers to buy a streaming service, for which the website receives a commission.

Fandom was originally known as Wikia and counts Wikipedia president Jimmy Wales among its top executives. Like Red Ventures, the company primarily generates revenue through advertising and affiliate marketing.

The acquisition will allow Fandom to boost its output of entertainment and technology-related coverage, while giving Red Ventures the opportunity to focus on its key areas of finance, health and home-related products and services.

It was not immediately clear if the acquisition will result in layoffs, though pink slips are typical when one large company buys the assets of another.