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Time Warner buys Web site geared to African-Americans

The media giant says it will acquire Africana.com in an effort to tap into the growing population of African-Americans online.

Media giant Time Warner today said it will acquire Africana.com in an effort to tap into the growing population of African-Americans online.

Africana.com is a Web site that focuses on African-American history and culture, co-founded by renowned Harvard professors Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Kwame Anthony Appiah. The site attracts more than 500,000 visits and 3.6 million page views per month, the company said.

Once the acquisition is completed, Africana.com will be integrated into America Online's proprietary service, the companies said. Time Warner and AOL are in the process of joining to form a singular behemoth of new and traditional media, with the merger slated to close this fall.

Financial terms of today's deal were not disclosed.

Time Warner executives touted the deal as a way to bring more African-Americans online. Executives also see the deal allowing AOL Time Warner to "cross-fertilize" its own content with Africana.com's education, music, film and news content, said Time Warner spokesman Ed Adler.

With the deal, Africana.com will become another site under the AOL umbrella geared toward African-Americans, like the popular culture Web site NetNoir,

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in which AOL has an investment. Africana.com and NetNoir will be complementary and serve different audiences, Adler said.

Several other sites are competing for the same growing market. BET.com has a list of influential backers that include BET Holdings, Microsoft, News Corp., USA Networks and Liberty Digital. Other sites backed by big media companies include Tribune's BlackVoices.com.