Monday, August 27, 2012

The New York Times (NYT)’s About.com Sold to IAC/InterActive (IACI) ’s Ask.com for $300 mln

Information website About.com, belonging to the The New York Times Company(NYSE:NYT), has been acquired by Barry Diller-owned IAC/InterActiveCorp(NASDAQ:IACI )’s unit Ask.com for $300 million, IAC said on Monday.

The other bidder for the company, which had been preliminarily accepted by the NYT group, had been Answers.com, whose bid had come in at $270 million.

"The About.com acquisition is completely in line with IAC's M&A strategy of acquiring, at disciplined valuations, companies that are complementary and synergistic with both our existing businesses and our areas of expertise," IAC CEO Greg Blatt said in a press release.

Newspapers have been facing difficult times of late with slack revenues as more advertisers are moving to visual mediums.

The NYT group has been divesting itself of its non-core businesses in recent years to focus more on its resources around its flagship newspaper and accompanying website.

It bought About.com, which provides a wealth of information in the form of articles on speciality topics ranging from personal finance to pets, in 2005 for $410 million. About.com makes its money by selling advertising against its content.

But About.com took a big hit after Google Inc. (GOOG) overhauled its search algorithm in an effort to return high-quality results.

New York Times Group wrote down the value of About.com by $195 million last month. In December, it also agreed to sell 16 regional newspapers in a deal valued at roughly $145 million.

Shares of NYT which closed at $9.22 on Friday have gained more than 16 percent in the last one month.

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