News Corp. acquires Photobucket, Flektor

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. acquires photo and video Web sites

Online photo sharing, storage and creativity Web site Photobucket is being acquired by Fox Interactive Media, a division of media mogul Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

The deal was announced Wednesday as part of a twin bill of acquisitions by the company. In a separate deal, News Corp. said it is also acquiring real-time video and audio editing Web site Flektor.

Terms of both deals were not disclosed.

The Photobucket deal had been rumoured since earlier this month, when another News Corp. business -- the social-networking Web site MySpace.com -- was reported to be eyeing Photobucket for $US250 million.

Dan Berger, a spokesman for Fox Interactive Media (FIM), said that both Photobucket and Flektor will remain as standalone businesses within FIM, but that "their technologies will be integrated" within the company's other divisions and businesses, including MySpace.com, FOXSports.com, GameSpy and RottenTomatoes.com.

Peter Levinsohn, president of FIM, said in a statement that Photobucket and Flektor are "a perfect strategic fit for us that reinforces FIM's leadership in user-generated content. As a leading site for creative expression Photobucket extends our reach among personal media sharing enthusiasts and the innovative new entrant Flektor brings highly differentiated new tools to the table that will drive the next generation. Together, they represent a powerful combination and we are thrilled for them to join our network."

Denver-based Photobucket has more than 42 million users, with an estimated 47 percent who then link their photos to social networks such as MySpace.com, according to the company.

"Becoming part of the Fox Interactive Media network will have a tremendous and positive impact on our ability to serve our users' needs," Alex Welch, CEO of Photobucket, said in a statement. "We plan to continue developing innovative tools that enhance self-expression and allow our users to have the best media sharing, linking and searching experience on the Web. Partnering with FIM will give us the resources and support to deliver on this vision, as well as the ability to offer new opportunities to our end users, customers and partners."

California-based Flektor, which provides tools to create mash-ups or other types of user-generated media clips, was founded in 2006.

"We founded Flektor to give Internet users the tools they need to easily create, connect and share content," Jason Rubin, co-founder of Flektor. said in a statement. "Becoming a part of the Fox Interactive Media network will enable us to deliver these tools to the broadest possible online audience."

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Todd R. Weiss

Computerworld
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