Turner 'shells out $175 million' for sports fan website Bleacher Report

A website where sports fans talk about their favourite teams, founded by four California 20-somethings four years ago, has been sold for a reported $175 million.

Favourite for sports fans

Time Warner subsidiary Turner Broadcasting announced today the purchase of Bleacher Report. No figure was given but The Wall Street Journal said "about $175 million" and others suggested up to $200 million.

Bleacher Report was launched by the four - Dave Finocchio, Bryan Goldberg, Dave Nemetz and Zander Freund --to give sports fans a place to talk about their team.

The site became a hit thanks to a legion of contributors willing to write about sports for free. Now the four have themselves scored big-time.

"Most of our contributors aren't professional journalists. They're lawyers by day, Giants fans by night," Chief Executive Brian Grey said in an interview last year according to SiliconValley.com.

The four co-founders raised $39 million in venture capital in the past few years, hiring executives and making the site much more professional.

Grey, for example, left Fox Interactive to become CEO.

Bleacher Report ranked ninth in the June comScore rankings of U.S. online

sports sites,with 10.1 million unique visitors. Turner Sports Digital ( sites such as NBA.com and NASCAR.com) was sixth, with 14.8 million visitors.

Together, the two would come fourth in comScore's traffic rankings, well ahead of USA Today.

The reported $175 million purchase price easily beats the record $98 million Yahoo paid in 2007 for Rivals.com.

What about Mashable?Still no progress on the report four months ago that CNN, another in the Turner family, was interested in buying website Mashable for $200 million. Mashable, now US-based, was founded by Pete Cashmore from his home in Aberdeenshire seven years ago.

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