According to reports, the parent company of NBC has bought out Microsoft's stake in the website MSNBC.com.
The New York Times reports that Comcast has purchased the stake for $300 million, citing anonymous sources. Part of the of the total price will come from the joint venture's past collaboration and profits.
The site has now become NBCNews.com, and visitors are automatically redirected to the new website. This move draws a line under the long relationship between NBC and Microsoft, which dates back to the fledgling stages of the web as a commercial entity. Microsoft's stake accounts for 50 percent of MSNBC.com.
Steve Capus, the president of NBC News, said:
“It’s undeniable how big a part of all of our businesses the digital properties are going to be. We think we have a much better opportunity to shape them, and frankly grow the news division over all, if we have direct control over all of it.”
The president of NBC also told the Times that with the changes, "we will fully own our digital businesses."
NBC and Microsoft joined forces in 1996 to create the website, which at the time was produced with cutting-edge technology to merge a cable news channel and broadcasting. However, with the buyout, Comcast will now have control over advertising on both the newscasts and websites, which was not possible when Microsoft controlled the advertising aspect of the business.
"MSNBC TV will launch a new digital home in 2013, as an extension of the MSNBC TV on-air brand," the editor-in-chief of MSNBC.com wrote in a letter posted on the MSNBC website.
Reports concerning a potential buyout were first circulated in May this year.
According to recent comScore data, MSNBC currently ranks in the top 5 general news sites accessed online, with over 55 million monthly visitors.