Fox Buys TMZ, Bolstering The Murdoch Family’s Gossip News Holdings
Fox Corp acquired the TMZ brand from WarnerMedia for an undisclosed price, strengthening the Murdoch family’s hold in the celebrity gossip business.
Under the terms of the agreement announced Monday, Fox will buy TMZ’s hit syndicated magazine programs, TMZ and TMZ LIVE; its dedicated sports site TMZ Sports and program TMZ SPORTS along with its celebrity tour operations in Los Angeles. Media reports peg the deal’s value at under $50 million.
TMZ will join other Murdoch celebrity-focused properties, including The U.K.’s Sun, Australia’s Daily Telegraph, and The New York Post. The Post’s Page Six section was a rival to TMZ for years. Fox pulled the plug on Page Six TV in 2019 after two seasons. TMZ is now the go-to site for the mainstream media for salacious celebrity news.
As the Hollywood Reporter noted, Fox News
“(Both) launched as crusaders against the status quo in cable news and gossip news, backed by major mainstream media companies, but embracing a point-of-view that was absent from existing offerings.” the trade publication says.
Managing Editor Harvey Levin, who co-founded TMZ in 2005, will retain his position. The Hollywood Reporter notes that Levin had told WarnerMedia executives that he was planning to leave the company. Levin, TMZ’s public face, praised the deal in a press release, saying it will help TMZ grow its business.
“The unique and powerful brand Harvey has created in TMZ has forever changed the entertainment industry, and we’re excited to welcome them to FOX,” said Lachlan Murdoch, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Fox Corporation
Added Fox Entertainment head Charlie Collier: “Whether via broadcast or digital, TMZ has brought its brand-defining energy and sense of urgency to fans across the planet. We see great potential in building upon this franchise by adding new creative ventures with Harvey and everyone at TMZ.
For his part, Levin added TMZ “couldn’t be more charged,” adding that “Fox Entertainment is opening up a world of opportunities for TMZ to grow our current platforms and expand in every which way.”
Fox has been on an acquisition binge of late as it seeks to lessen its dependence on Fox News which generates 95% of its pre-tax profits.
The company’s acquired Clay Travis’ Outkick Media in May, the corporate parent of its namesake sports news site. It also invested in blockchain media start-up Eluvio, which will provide the underlying technology for Fox’s Blockchain Creative Labs. Fox’s investment completed Eluvio’s Series A funding round at a valuation of $100 million.
WarnerMedia’s corporate parent AT&T
Earlier this year, AT&T said it would merge WarnerMedia and Discovery