NBC and Microsoft are in talks for NBC to buy the part of MSNBC.com it does not own, and the site would be rebranded NBCNews.com, reports Howard Kurtz at The Daily Beast.
Says the article, "NBC and Microsoft plan to announce a deal to finally part company, with the network buying back the remainder of their hugely popular MSNBC website from the software giant, say people familiar with the matter.
"Under the plan, officials will rebrand MSNBC.com, which consistently ranks among the top three in online news sites, as NBCNews.com. The announcement of the corporate divorce is expected within days, although there could always be a last-minute snag."
In a follow-up to Kurtz’s scoop, Donna Tam at CNET writes, "Microsoft originally invested $220 million for a 50 percent stake in MSNBC, which launched in 1996. The software giant sold most of its control in 2005, leaving NBC with an 82 percent stake in the network and an option of claiming the remaining 18 percent after two years. MSNBC.com continues to be one of the country’s top news sites, with 55.7 million visitors earlier this year."
Adds Kurtz in his piece, "MSNBC.com is considered to be quite profitable, in part because it draws as much as half its traffic from Microsoft’s MSN network. Part of the deal, say those in the know, calls for Microsoft to continue to steer some traffic toward the rebranded site."