Fandom Buys Brands for about $50 Million in Cash

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Image Source: Variety

In a $50 million transaction with digital marketing firm Red Ventures, Fandom is acquiring several entertainment and gaming content properties, including TV Guide and Metacritic.

GameSpot, Metacritic, TV Guide, GameFAQs, Giant Bomb, Cord Cutters News, and Comic Vine were all acquired by San Francisco-based Fandom as part of the agreement. According to Fandom, the websites collectively draw 46 million active visitors per month.

Financial details of the agreement were not made public, but a source familiar with the matter estimated that Fandom would pay “in the mid-eight figures” for the properties with cash. In 2020, Red Ventures purchased TV Guide, Metacritic, GameSpot, and Giant Bomb from Paramount Global as part of their $500 million deal to purchase the CNET Media Group.

Fandom, which was founded in 2004, now has over 250,000 user-curated wiki pages covering gaming, TV, and film, reaching about 300 million monthly active users. Jimmy Wales, a co-founder of Wikipedia, and businesswoman Angela Beesley Starling established Fandom. It was sold to a business run by Jon Miller and financed by the venture capital firm TPG in 2018.

The most recent agreement extends Fandom’s growth beyond its wiki-based foundation. In 2018, Fandom purchased ScreenJunkies from the now-defunct digital media business Defy Media. ScreenJunkies produced the well-known “Honest Trailer” series. In 2019, the business purchased Curse Media, combining gaming wikis with built-in digital gaming technologies. A retailer of video games online, Fanatical, was purchased by Fandom in 2021.

The content division of Fandom, Fandom Productions, will be home to GameSpot, TV Guide, Metacritic, the Honest Trailers team, and the weekly video news program “The Loop.”

CEO Perkins Miller said the agreement would increase the company’s business capabilities and offer immersive content to partners, advertising, and fans. As a result, fandom will become a one-stop shop for fans throughout their entertainment and gaming journeys thanks to their trustworthy insights, reviews, and information, besides producing extraordinary fan experiences.

Red Ventures also owns Bankrate, Lonely Planet, the Points Guy, BestColleges, and CNET. On the agreement with Fandom, LionTree acted as Red Ventures’ sole financial advisor.

With Fandom in charge, there is great confidence that these brands and their teams will be well-equipped to continue empowering and connecting gaming and entertainment audiences around the world, said Christina Miller, Red Ventures’ chief strategy officer, in a statement regarding the acquisition. She noted that Red Ventures would keep concentrating on releasing the next stage of growth and evolution for its powerful stable of decision-making businesses.

Fandom is on a mission to expand

Fandom has more than 250,000 Wiki communities, 40 million pages of content, and 300 million monthly active users. An additional 46 million MAUs will be added by the new industry publications, including video games, movies, TV, streaming entertainment, comic books, and music. The agreement also includes GameFAQs, Giant Bomb, Cord Cutters News, and Comic Vine as participating publications.

According to Fandom, the acquisition would increase data and insights for the company’s data platform, known as FanDNA, and broaden its range of possibilities for ad partners, including game publishers, studios, and streaming services looking to reach the proper consumers interested in their products.

Due to advertisers’ swift departure from third-party data, gaining greater scale (and consequently more first-party data) has become crucial for publishers and businesses looking to efficiently target the correct audiences since Apple AAPL +3.1% essentially barred cookies on its iOS platform.

Over the years, Fandom has purchased a number of websites with an emphasis on entertainment and video games, including ScreenJunkies in 2018, Curse Media in 2019, and game e-commerce site Fanatical in 2021.