USA Today publisher Gannett (NYSE: GCI) has acquired Fantasy Sports Ventures, a network of different independent sports websites, the Tysons Corner, Va.-based media company announced Tuesday.
FSV, of which Gannett already owned a 30 percent stake, consists of hundreds of different Websites providing coverage of different sports. The flagship, TheBigLead.com, provides content on a variety of different sports. Some of FSV's more popular websites include BaseballHQ.com, HoopsWorld.com and football-centric TheHuddle.com.
The purchase of the remaining 70 percent will place FSV's websites under the umbrella of USA Today's Sports Media Group.
This deal represents a major step forward for us, giving us the dramatically more scale and a great ability to provide engaging, relevant content across the entire spectrum of sports fans, Tom Beusse, president of USA Today Sports Media Group said in a statement.
These new content distribution outlets will enable us to better serve sports enthusiasts while providing advertisers and marketers with a one-stop solution for all of their sports marketing needs, he continued.
Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.
The deal could help USA Today become one of the most-visited sports properties online. The Sports Media Group currently operates USA Today's sports portal, which attracted about 10 million monthly unique visitors, according to digital analytics firm comScore. FSV was the fifth-largest sports property on the Internet in 2011, averaging 18.4 million monthly unique visitors to its websites, also according to comScore.
Gannett, which owns 82 newspapers and 23 television stations across the U.S., has struggled in recent years due to the decline in print advertising, as customers increasingly rely on the Internet to receive their news. The company has cut its work force about 40 percent since 2005.
Gannett will announce its fourth quarter earnings Monday. Wall Street analysts expect earnings of 69 cents a share.
Shares of Gannett were down 1.04 percent to $15.25 in early afternoon trading.