The Federal Trade Commission has approved a deal between Bleacher Report and Time Warner — and according to reports from Bloomberg and AllThingsD, this is the signal that Time Warner division Turner Broadcasting System is finalizing an acquisition of the sports site network.
The prices being reported are in a range around the $200 million mark: Bloomberg says the deal is under $200 million. SAI notes a price of $175 million. And AllThingsD notes that Bleacher Report investors were looking for an exit above $200 million. Bleacher Report has raised $40.5 million from investors including Crosslink Capital, Oak Investment Partners, and Hillsven Capital. The deal, at the very least, is worth a minimum of $68.2 million, which is the threshold that triggers an FTC investigation.
The FTC investigates not only mergers and acquisitions, but investments. On the same docket from Friday where Bleacher Report and Time Warner appeared, so did General Atlantic Partners and Box. The cloud company announced a $125 million round led by the VC firm at the end of July.
Time Warner’s interest in Bleacher Report comes out of the fact that the broadcaster has passed control of Sports Illustrated’s website and golfing portal PGA.com into the hands of Time Inc. earlier this year — although both are still branded as Turner Broadcasting on the sites themselves. That might mean that if this is an acquisition and it goes through, these sites will continue to remain separate at least in part.
Bleacher Report, which was founded in 2006, gets around 10 million users per month writes Bloomberg, and it has an astounding 6,000 contributors, most of whom write for free. It was started by four friends, David Finocchio (now VP Content & Product), Dave Nemetz (VP Business Development), Bryan Goldberg (VP Revenue) and Zander Freund, who calls himself the original ‘face’ of Bleacher Report membership as the Community GM. He has left the company and now works as an advisor to other startups, while remaining a shareholder in Bleacher Report. Brian Grey is currently the CEO.
We’ve reached out to TBS and Bleacher Report for comment and will update as we learn more. Meanwhile, it appears to be business as usual at the sports site, with the latest post on its blog about a writer meetup in New York.