Key Brand Entertainment (KBE), which already owns national touring producer Broadway Across America among other assets, added to its theater holdings with the recently...

Key Brand Entertainment (KBE), which already owns national touring producer Broadway Across America among other assets, added to its theater holdings with the recently completed acquisition of Broadway.com from Hollywood Media Corp. (HMC), a move that further solidifies the company as a force in the theatrical industry.

KBE and HMC had been working on the $45.1 million acquisition for a year, and the deal moves KBE into the ticket selling arena, which company officials see as a growth area. In addition to Broadway.com, KBE is also acquiring Theatre Direct NY, a Broadway ticket wholesaler and group package deal provider.

“The acquisition of Broadway.com is a very exciting opportunity for us to connect even further with theatergoers on Broadway and around the world. The announcement is especially timely, as a survey by the Broadway League just named Broadway.com the top source for theatergoers looking for information on Broadway,” KBE founder and CEO John Gore said in a statement. Besides Broadway, KBE is also a major player in London’s West End theatre district.

According to Playbill, Matt Kupchin, Broadway.com’s president and chief operating officer, and Jerome Kane, executive vice president of ticketing, will both stay on at the company in their current roles and report to Gore.

Broadway ticket sales have not been immune to the ravages of the current slow economy, but productions have fared relatively well this season. KBE Chairman Thomas B. McGrath said in a statement that the deal makes KBE a more complete company.

“With the acquisition of Broadway.com, we’re able to take major steps towards our goal of creating a fully integrated online experience for theatergoers worldwide.”

According to TicketNews’ exclusive industry rankings, Broadway.com trails far behind Ticketmaster and Telecharge.com as a seller of Broadway tickets — the company is not in the top 10 of either the primary or secondary rankings — but KBE inherits a brand with an easily identifiable name.

“We started Broadway.com in 2000 with just a domain name and built it into an industry leader with revenues over $100 million and a loyal customer base,” Mitchell Rubenstein, CEO of HMC, said in a statement. With the divestiture of Broadway.com, HMC will concentrate on its movie ticket and services operations and intellectual property division.