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Hearst Interactive Media Acquiring UGO Network

hearst ugoHearst Corporation is largely known for its collection of magazines and newspapers which includes titles ranging from Esquire and Cosmopolitan to O to the San Francisco Chronicle but the company is also one of the worlds largest diversified media companies.  In addition to its print properties, Hearst has vast media holdings including stakes in television channels, Television networks including ESPN and A&E Networks and significant Internet properties and investments.

Today, Hearst announced UGO Networks (aka Underground Online) will join the list.  UGO will be acquired by Hearst’s Interactive Media division.  While the division has been an active investor in a number of Internet properties (Brightcove, Pandora, iVillage) this will be one of its first outright purchases of a large property.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed but the purchase price has been estimated to be approximately $100m.  

UGO, which was founded in 1998, is a property entirely supported by advertising.  The company’s sites have an audience of 28m people globally and claim to reach 1 in 10 men between the ages of 18 and 34 who are regularly online.  

Like Hearst’s print property, Esquire, UGO targets a desirable male demographic with news and content about movies, sports, gaming and other male-focused entertainment topics.  Victor Ganzi, President of and CEO of Hearst thinks it’s an audience worth having.  In a statement he called “one of the most popular men’s lifestyle brands on the web.”

Kenneth Bronfin of Hearst added that, the company will likely look to acquire other male-skewing sites to integrate with UGO.   Upon completion of the transaction, UGO will largely operate as an independent, stand-alone property relative to Heart’s other online channels.   “It’s not our intention to mesh it with any of our other sites” he said.

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