Viacom to acquire Xfire

Media giant offers $102 million in cash for online gaming utility company; makes it part of MTV Networks.

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The 18- to 35-year-old male demographic has been a highly coveted market segment for a while now, and when corporations find a business that caters to that crowd successfully, they're willing to pay for it.

Viacom Networks is the latest multinational to dish out big bucks to reach the youth market, today announcing it has reached an agreement with Xfire Inc. to acquire the gaming utility company for $102 million in cash. Viacom will make Xfire part of its MTV Networks, where it hopes to increase its advertising revenues by leveraging the parent company's marketing channels and global penetration.

Viacom president and CEO Tom Freston called it a "terrific deal" for his company. "Xfire is far and away the leading PC gaming communications and community platform, has outstanding management, and is a perfect fit with our growing digital businesses at MTV Networks," Feston said. "It's a bull's eye against our young audiences, and meets our strict financial targets."

Xfire offers gamers a suite of tools to complement their online gaming experience, from server browsing and file downloading to in-game messaging, voice chat, and stat tracking. Earlier this year, the company settled a lawsuit brought against it by Yahoo. Yahoo alleged that Xfire's in-game chat program infringed on patents it held from its own instant-messenger service. Other MTV Networks properties include GameTrailers.com, Comedy Central's MotherLoad, and Neopets.

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