MSNBC Re-Named After NBC-Microsoft Divorce

NBCUniversal (NASDAQ:CMCSA) has rebranded the MSNBC.com website as NBCNews.com after acquiring full ownership of the portal from Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). The 16-year partnership ended with the buyout of Microsoft’s 50 percent share in the joint venture by NBCUniversal on July 13. According to the New York Times, Microsoft received $300 million for its stake.

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“Today we’re taking on a new name — NBCNews.com,” Jennifer Sizemore, editor-in-chief of NBCNews.com, said in a letter posted on the company’s website. “While our name is changing, our commitment is not.”

NBC News now has complete control over the MSNBC Digital Network, including MSNBC.com, Today.com, NightlyNews.com, and BreakingNews.com. However, the transition is expected to take a while. The ties are deep, and untangling them will take at least two years, the network said in a statement. Microsoft’s MSN website will remain a distribution site for NBC News for now. Microsoft also will continue to sell NBCNews.com’s advertising inventory for an undisclosed period to minimize disruption in ad revenue.

With the split, NBC hopes to better connect the Internet property with MSNBC TV and will eventually introduce a new news website in 2013. It will also collect all of NBC News’s online properties into a new division called NBC News Digital.

Microsoft and NBC had teamed up to start MSNBC in 1996 and created a 24-hour news channel as well as a news website. While NBC fully acquired the news channel in 2005, the website stayed as a joint venture. NBC Universal was bought by Comcast last year.

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