Comcast buys out Microsoft’s stake in MSNBC.com

The site has been renamed NBCNews.com and will be operated by NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast. People visiting MSNBC.com will be redirected to the new Web address. 

The purchase marks the end of an online partnership between NBC and Microsoft that began more than a decade ago, in 1996.

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“This deal represents so many opportunities for NBC News, including the ability to better align television with digital, innovate around how we deliver content to consumers, and fully integrate digital into everything that we do,” said Vivian Schiller, senior vice president and chief digital officer of NBC News. 

A new standalone site for the cable channel MSNBC TV will launch in 2013. It will serve as “an extension of the MSNBC TV on-air brand, creating in-depth content and a community for the passionate audiences of MSNBC programs,” said NBCNews.com Editor in Chief Jennifer Sizemore in a statement.

The New York Times first reported the news on Sunday.

While Microsoft sold its stake in the cable channel in 2005, it still ran the advertising side of the MSNBC website. NBC felt this arrangement harmed its ability to respond to advertisers who wanted to buy ads on both its TV newscasts and websites, which was one of the motives for working out a deal with Microsoft, according to theTimes.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has plans in store for its own portal site, MSN.com. Bob Visse, general manager for MSN.com, told the Times that the portal site was going to build its own news team and the split allows the site to make deals with other news providers.