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About.com beefs up business-to-business arm

The online content and community site says it will acquire North Sky in an effort to offer Web hosting and site development for businesses.

Online content and community site About.com said today that it has acquired North Sky in an effort to offer Web hosting and site development for businesses.

About.com will issue approximately 500,000 unregistered shares of its stock to acquire North Sky; privately held North Sky will become an independent subsidiary of About.com, the company said.

North Sky offers business and Web administrators technology to beef up their sites with free services such as email, Web pages and instant messaging.

Scott Kurnit, About.com's chief executive, touted the acquisition as a way for the company to offer its services to businesses looking for a Web presence.

"By having North Sky services used by individual Webmasters and large businesses, we expect to significantly increase our business-to-business relationships around the Net and direct traffic back to the 650 niche vertical sites within the About.com network," Kurnit said in a statement.

Hal Halladay, chief executive of North Sky, will continue in his position following the acquisition.

The acquisition is slated to close by the end of the year.