IGN owner News Corporation is reportedly to buy media network UGO, currently owned by Hearst Corporation and including the 1UP Network, with plans to spin off IGN Entertainment as a separate business.
A report from The Wall Street Journal's All Things Digital states that plans for the merger were finalized
over the weekend, and will most likely be announced in the coming days. The IGN spinoff plans will not yet be announced for at least a couple of months.
UGO Entertainment was acquired by Hearst in July 2007, and bought the 1UP Network
in January 2009, with the sale including 1UP.com, Mycheats.com, Gametab.com, and GameVideos.com.
The IGN spinoff will be a new standalone business that focuses on video game news, reviews and culture. This new business will be run by Roy Bahat, who currently runs IGN and has done so since 2007.
Before the split happens, IGN may also acquire other properties. News Corp is currently looking at bringing in outside investors for the move. The report notes that IGN Entertainment, which includes a network of sites and digital sales business Direct2Drive, is expected to earn more than $10 million this year, with revenues of $100 million.
Earlier in the year, IGN Entertainment announced
that it was to enter the professional gaming business and host a gaming tournament, featuring Blizzard's highly regarded strategy title Starcraft II
. The tournament took place last week, streamed live on the IGN site.
The company also provided office space
for five indie developers in what it called the 'Indie Open House'. Developers Cryptic Sea, Team Ethereal, Evanatiks, Runt, Inc. and Interabang Entertainment all received six months free use of IGN's office space, peer support, and consultation.