Fox Entertainment Group, a unit of News Corp., has acquired Beliefnet, a website that focuses of faith and spirituality-related content. No financial terms were disclosed.
Beliefnet had raised $26 million in VC funding between 1999 and 2002 from firms like Highland Capital Partners and Primus Capital Funds, but then filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It would later raise around $7 million from Softbank Capital and Blue Chip Venture Co. Beliefnet was advised on the sale by Savvian LLC.
Fox Entertainment Group (FEG) today announced its acquisition of Beliefnet, a Web site that enables consumers to better understand their faith and build diverse spiritual communities by providing content and tools for a broad range of religions and spiritual approaches. Beliefnet, the largest online faith and spirituality destination, will become part of Fox Digital Media, spearheaded by President Dan Fawcett, which takes on an expanded role to support FEG's vast cable, TV and film brands online, and drive FEG's continued growth in the online market.
The acquisition provides Beliefnet with vast resources to further build and enhance its already popular brand. It also offers an online platform for FEG to distribute content from its extensive media library and for News Corp. to expand its faith-based businesses, including HarperCollins' Zondervan and HarperOne brands, and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment's faith-based programming initiative.
Additionally, Beliefnet will provide unique, world-renowned spiritual programming to the company's various businesses. Beliefnet will also partner closely with Fox Interactive Media, leveraging the group's world-class technology and “FIM Serve” targeted advertising delivery platform.
“Beliefnet has garnered respect for its commitment to quality, editorial strength and unbiased approach to faith and spirituality from a broad range of consumers, religious and political leaders, journalists and advertisers,” said Dan Fawcett, President of Fox Digital Media. “FEG's goal is to leverage these characteristics across a broader media canvas and provide programming, production, advertising sales, technology and marketing expertise that will enhance an already terrific product in a rapidly growing market.”
Beliefnet provides devotional tools, access to the best spiritual teachers in the world, thought-provoking commentary and a portfolio of Web-based social networking tools to enable a supportive community surrounding each person's unique spiritual principles and beliefs. Its insightful and compelling editorial content has been consistently recognized by the American Society of Magazine Editors and the site has received numerous general excellence awards. Beliefnet strives for political and ideological balance and is not affiliated with any spiritual organization or movement.
“FEG's vast resources will enable Beliefnet to expand our audience, enhance our offerings and more effectively carry out our mission to help people find and walk a spiritual path that brings comfort, hope, clarity, strength, and happiness,” said Steven Waldman, Beliefnet's CEO, Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder.
Savvian LLC advised Beliefnet on this transaction. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The Faith and Spirituality market is strong and continues to grow. According to the Pew Internet Project, over 82 million Americans and 64% of all Internet users utilize the Web for faith-related matters. In addition, a division of Marketresearch.com put the demand for religious and spiritually-oriented materials like books, DVDs, software, etc. at well beyond $8 billion.
Beliefnet, winner of the 2007 National Magazine Award for General Excellence Online, is the largest online community for spirituality and inspiration. Its mission is to help people find and walk a spiritual path that instills comfort, hope, clarity, strength and happiness for people who are exploring their own faith or curious about other spiritual traditions. Beliefnet offers a wide variety of resources including social networking tools, articles, quizzes, devotionals, sacred text searches, photo galleries and intimate interviews with noted politicians, celebrities and spiritual leaders. Beliefnet has approximately three million unique visitors each month and a daily email newsletter readership of nearly 11 million subscribers. The company is not affiliated with any spiritual organization or movement, and has partnerships with TIME magazine, Yahoo!, and Chicken Soup for the Soul.
About Fox Entertainment Group
Fox Entertainment Group (FEG) is a unit of News Corporation (NYSE: NWS, NWS.A). It is principally engaged in the development, production and worldwide distribution of feature films and television programs, television broadcasting and cable network programming. The Company's studios, production facilities and film and television library provide high-quality creative content, and the Company's broadcasting and cable networks provide extensive distribution platforms for the Company's programs. Fox Digital Media is a division of FEG dedicated to setting distribution strategy and licensing programming from all FEG divisions to new, digital outlets.
About News Corporation
News Corporation (NYSE: NWS, NWS.A; ASX: NWS, NWSLV) had total assets as of September 30, 2007 of approximately US$64 billion and total annual revenues of approximately US$30 billion. News Corporation is a diversified entertainment company with operations in eight industry segments: filmed entertainment; television; cable network programming; direct broadcast satellite television; magazines and inserts; newspapers; book publishing; and other. The activities of News Corporation are conducted principally in the United States, Continental Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia, Asia and the Pacific Basin.