New York Times Co. to sell About.com to Barry Diller's IAC

The $300 million cash deal for the struggling information site is expected to close in the next few weeks.

IAC's Barry Diller CBS

The New York Times Co. is expected to announce soon that it has reached a deal to sell the About Group, which includes Web site About.com, to Barry Diller's InterActiveCorp, a source with knowledge of the deal told CNET.

IAC is expected to pay $300 million in cash for the struggling information site, with the deal closing in the next couple of weeks, the New York Times Co. confirmed in a statement late Sunday.

"About's early expertise in search engine optimization, expert content and revenues from cost-per-click and display advertising made it a valuable component of our portfolio for the past seven years," Times Co. Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. said in a statement. "This sale will allow the Times Company to focus on the development and growth of our core brands locally, nationally and on a global scale."

A guide that offers tips, advice, and information on nearly 1,000 topics, About.com's content is designed to appear high up in search results.

The Times bought the About Group in 2005 for a little more than $400 million. However, tweaks to Google's search algorithm in 2011 resulted in pushing About.com's guides further down in search rankings. The company also faced declining advertising revenue. The group's revenue for the most recent quarter was down 8.7 percent to $25.4 million.

The Times announced on August 8 that it was in discussions about selling its About Group but didn't identify the interested parties. Diller's holding company reportedly offered $300 million for the group last week to rival Answers.com's $270 million bid. Answers.com President Peter Horan is the former head of About.com.

Updated at 5:25 p.m. PT with statement from Times Co.

 

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