Walt Disney’s Internet Group has agreed to buy 60 per cent of the UK based Daily Mail & General Trust’s Soccernet Web site to increase its football coverage.
Soccernet, which records more than 20 million page views a month, was relaunched this weekend to coincide with the announcement. It will now become the core of Buena Vista’s sports site, ESPN.com.
Paul Zwillenberg, managing director of Daily Mail’s Internet division, said: “Soccernet is the world’s largest football site and to remain in number one position and expand our franchises on the Internet, in the world and Europe, we needed a partner and we felt Disney, one of the top media company’s in the world, was best placed to do that.”
He continued that Soccernet would continue to be based out of its London headquarters. “There is no question of the operations not being quartered in the UK. The site is focused on international football and the best place to centre that is in Europe. We will draw on the US for technical support, but we have got a UK editorial team in place and secure feeds across Europe to expand,” he added.
Disney has been hard at work building up an Internet presence with sites such as Disney.com, ABCnews.com and Family.com.
The Daily Mail's shares rose 40 pence or one per cent, to 3,459 pence ($5.59) on the back of the deal.
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