Popular sports site Bleacher Report and media giant Time Warner ended months of speculation by finally tying the knot in a deal reportedly worth $175 million.
Rumors of the purchase began to leak months ago but only became official after the Federal Trade Commission approved it on August 3rd according to regulatory documents cited by Bloomberg.
The news is a crowning moment for the four high school friends who built the upstart sports site by drawing on legions of rabid fans who offer reams of free content about their favorite teams.
The site, which is also famous for absurdly specific slide shows along the lines of “6 Third Basemen with overgrown mustaches,” has been adding a growing number professional writers and editors in the last year. Bleacher Report is also working to groom some of its contributors into full-fledged media personalities.
For Time Warner, the acquisition will strengthen sports content of its Turner Networks at a time when consumers continue to show an almost insatiable appetite for sports media. Bleacher Report is reported to be the third most-visited sports site in the country behind giants ESPN and Yahoo Sports.
The value of the deal was long rumored to be $200 million but a source familiar with the deal told the Wall Street Journal it was ultimately near $175.
Three of the four founders – Bryan Goldberg, Dave Finocchio and Dave Nemet – who launched the site in 2006 are still with the company in VP roles. The fourth, Zander Freund, departed in 2009.
The acquisition has been driven, however, by CEO Brian Grey who has raised about $40 million venture capital for the site.