IGN Entertainment has confirmed earlier rumours that they are to acquire UGO Entertainment, creating a media network with a potential 70 million monthly visitors.
As a result of the move UGO owner Hearst Corporation will become a shareholder in IGN, retaining an active role in the development of the business which now encompasses the IGN, UGO, and 1UP.com brands.
IGN has almost 40 million monthly visitors worldwide, with 1UP.com and UGO.com totalling around 30 million unique users. Together with other websites such as GameSpy, FilePlanet, Direct2Drive, TeamXbox, and AskMen the company estimates that each month one in four men will use the website.
In the UK specifically the acquisition is predicted to result in around 5 million monthly visitors in the UK. comScore UK audited data for March 2011 showed that the existing IGN network had 3.13 million unique users a month in the UK, with UGO on 2.32 million - with just over 10 per cent user duplication between the two networks.
"With IGN Entertainment's UK reach and revenue continuing to grow, this is an exciting development that positions us at the heart of men's entertainment media online, with new opportunities in gaming and men's lifestyle complementing our existing market-leaders IGN and AskMen," said Ian Chambers, international vice president and managing director of IGN Entertainment.
"This instantly catapults us to another level and positions us to serve and entertain tens of millions more fans. We look forward to providing an even richer service for users and advertisers. We are now actively considering a range of options to maximise IGN's long-term value," added Roy Bahat, president of IGN Entertainment. "The combination of IGN and UGO will create the complete 'go to' online destination for video game enthusiasts. The breadth, depth and quality of the content available through these sites will be unparalleled. This is a terrific combination for our viewers and our advertisers," said Ken Bronfin, president of Hearst Interactive Media.
No official mention has yet been made regarding rumours that owners News Corp. intends to spin-off IGN as a separate company, with the acquisition of UGO previously represented as a key milestone towards that goal.