It’s no secret that NBCUniversal is in serious talks to buy out Microsoft’s remaning stake in the online news venture msnbc.com. All indications point to a deal happening, with some speculation that an announcement is just days away.
If the deal goes through, we’ve wondered what will happen to the msnbc.com staffers who’ve worked on Microsoft’s Redmond campus for years. And now here comes some word on that front.
Howard Kurtz of The Daily Beast reports that the spin off would include msnbc.com boss Charlie Tillinghast and about half of the website’s 300 Redmond employees moving to a new location. The new name of the entity would be NBCNews.com.
Now, where would the remaining staffers go?
If they stuck around the Seattle area, there’s one logical choice: The former Seattle P-I building. msnbc.com already maintains operations in the building, going back to its 2007 purchase of Seattle startup Newsvine.
The Seattle P-I, which shut down print production in 2009 and moved its online staff out of the building recently, no longer has a presence in the waterfront property (other than the massive spinning neon globe that declares: It’s in the P-I, a relic that’s slated to go to the city’s Museum of History & Industry).
Over the years, msnbc.com has raided some of the talent from the P-I, including Michael Wann, the managing editor of msnbc.com, and Jennifer Sizemore, general manager and editor-in-chief of msnbc.com and Today.com. So, they at least, in addition to the Newsvine staff, must be familiar with the property.
I’ve asked some of my real estate sources if they’ve heard any rumblings around town about whether msnbc.com is looking for space in the Seattle region, and I’ll provide updates if I learn more.
Msnbc.com is operated separately from the msnbc cable channel. The television property was originally an NBC-Microsoft joint venture, as well, before NBC purchased Microsoft’s stake in the cable joint venture. AdWeek originally reported on the talks to split msnbc.com from Microsoft in May.
(Note: GeekWire is a media partner of msnbc.com, which publishes selected GeekWire stories. GeekWire founders John Cook and Todd Bishop previously worked as tech reporters at the P-I).