IAC Buys CollegeHumor.com

NEW YORK IAC said it has acquired a controlling interest in CollegeHumor.com, a Maxim-like comedy site that leans heavily on user-generated content.

The deal gives IAC 51 percent ownership and voting control of Connected Ventures, CollegeHumor’s parent company.

Ricky Van Veen and Josh Abramson, who launched the site as college freshmen in 1999, will remain with the company, IAC said. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

The site becomes the first property in IAC’s programming unit, which the company launched in January under former television executive Michael Jackson. (The unit is tasked with building and growing content destinations.) IAC, which is helmed by former Hollywood mogul Barry Diller, also owns a stable of e-commerce properties, including CitySearch, Evite, Expedia and LendingTree, in addition to search engine Ask.

In CollegeHumor, IAC gains a loyal following of students who enjoy the site’s user-contributed photo galleries, jokes and offbeat articles.

“We think or ourselves as more of a filter than a producer,” Abramson said.

IAC was a more attractive suitor than traditional media companies because it would offer the site freedom to serve its audience on its own terms. With IAC, “we remain edgy and keep a sensibility that college kids can relate to,” Abramson said. “A lot of major media companies aren’t really comfortable with that.”

The site draws about 6 million visitors per month. It has recently branched into publishing (with its first book, The College Humor Guide to College), as well as movies, through a deal with Paramount. CollegeHumor is also experimenting with original content through the launch of CHTV, a monthly comedy show.

The site last year moved questionable content to an “R-rated” area, accessible to users 18 and older. Its major sponsors are not showcased in that section. While the site relies on ad networks, it has run campaigns for several brand advertisers, including Ford, Procter & Gamble and various entertainment companies.