NEW YORK: US media conglomerate NBC Universal has snapped up women-oriented independent cable TV network Oxygen for $925 million (€654m; £452m).

Oxygen was launched in 2000 by children's cable TV doyenne Geraldine Laybourne and an early investor was the world's highest paid TV entertainer, Oprah Winfrey.

Since it went on air, the network has built a strong brand identity with shows such as Tori & Dean: Inn Love and the The Bad Girls Club. Its subscriber numbers now stand at 74 million.

NBC is planning to pair Oxygen with its other female-targeted properties, including the Today show, the Bravo cable channel and its iVillage website to create "a virtual women's network" to sell to advertisers.

Comments Jeff Gaspin, president of the television group: "There are very few cable networks that are independent, that have good distribution and a brand that caters to a younger demographic. This will be one of our youngest-skewing cable assets."

Cable networks now account for 50% of NBCU's profits.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff