News Corp. is taking bids for IGN Entertainment as the media conglomerate tries to divest itself of the network of video game and pop culture Web sites.
News Corp., which paid $650 million in 2005 for the network, expects to get around $100 million for the sale, people involved with the negotiations tell The Wall Street Journal, which is also owned by News Corp. The media giant is formalizing the bidding process as part of its planned separation of publishing assets from its media and entertainment business.
Digital content providers such as Break Media and SAY Media, as well as private equity firms, have reportedly expressed interest in the network, which includes sites such as IGN.com, GameSpy.com, and TeamXbox.com, although some of the original sites have already been sold.
The auction represents another dot-com loss for News Corp. , which sold MySpace last year for $35 million after spending $580 million for the social-networking pioneer in 2005.
The sales process has been punctuated by recent executive departures. After working for more than a year to find a buyer for the division, IGN President Roy Bahat announced his resignation in August, saying in an e-mail to employees that "it has become clear that now is the time to refresh the process of looking at strategic options for the business."
Bahat's resignation was followed by that of News Corp. digital chief Jonathan Miller, who oversaw Fox's investment in Hulu but failed to revive MySpace.
News Corp. has teamed with investment bank Allen & Co. in the effort.