Microsoft and NBC to end MSNBC joint venture

By on July 12, 2012, 1:00 PM

Microsoft and NBC will soon put an end to a joint venture that began in 1996 when the software giant invested $220 million to claim a 50 percent stake in MSNBC, according to a report from The Daily Beast.

The two companies are planning to announce the split “within days” and although a spokesperson for NBC said no deal had been reached yet, he further pointed out that those conversations were indeed happening.

Officials plan to rebrand MSNBC.com as NBCNews.com once the deal is finalized and announced, as noted in the report. The new site would continue to be run by MSNBC.com chief executive Charlie Tillinghast but it’s likely that he and nearly half of the 300 employees on Microsoft’s campus would relocate.

A clause in the deal would call for Microsoft to continue to funnel traffic to the rebranded site for an unspecified amount of time. Nearly half of MSNBC.com’s traffic comes from Microsoft’s MSN network. Website employees have already been notified about the plans and how a potential deal would affect them.

The two sides held serious negotiations two years ago with regards to changing the name of the site to avoid confusion between the website and cable channel but nothing ever materialized.

Microsoft and NBC joined forces in 1996 but the two parted ways on the cable channel back in 2005. The site has maintained its position as one of the most popular online news sources on a global scale ever since with newsrooms in New York City, London and on Microsoft’s campus in Redmond, Washington.

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