Radio One Buys Social Networking Firm

Alfred Liggins is diversifying beyond radio to reach black audiences.
Alfred Liggins is diversifying beyond radio to reach black audiences. (Chip Somodevilla - Getty Images)
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By Peter J. Brennan
Bloomberg News
Friday, April 11, 2008

Radio One, the Lanham-based owner of stations primarily serving black listeners, acquired the social networking company Community Connect for $38 million to expand its presence on the Internet.

Community Connect, which has about 100 employees, owns and operates social networking brands including BlackPlanet.com, MiGente.com and AsianAve.com, Radio One said in a statement.

The acquisition is part of Radio One's strategy to diversify beyond radio to reach black audiences. Community Connect, based in New York, has more than 20 million members, making it the fourth-most visited U.S. social networking property, Radio One said, citing January data from Hitwise.

"We will be the clear No. 1 in the African American online space," Alfred Liggins III, Radio One's chief executive, said in the statement.

Radio One owns or operates 53 outlets in 16 urban markets. But in the past year, it has sold nine radio stations. Last month, the company sold its Los Angeles station to Bonneville International for $137.5 million.

As part of its diversification effort, Radio One purchased Giant, a magazine targeting urban consumers, in 2006 and has an interest in the African American targeted cable network TV One.

Shares of Radio One rose 1 cent to $1.50 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The company's stock has dropped 37 percent this year.


© 2008 The Washington Post Company

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