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NY Times to sell About.com for $289m

07:39 AEST Tue Aug 28 2012
AAP
The New York Times Co is to sell its information website About.com to IAC, a conglomerate headed by mogul Barry Diller
The New York Times Co is to sell its information website About.com to IAC, a conglomerate headed by mogul Barry Diller

The New York Times Co has agreed to sell its information website, About.com, for $US300 million ($A289 million) to IAC, a conglomerate headed by mogul Barry Diller.

The two firms announced the cash deal late on Sunday, concluding the effort by The Times to sell off non-core assets.

About.com will join IAC's assets such as Ask.com, Match.com, CollegeHumor, and CityGrid Media, comprising one of the world's largest families of websites. IAC also operates the news website, Daily Beast, which includes Newsweek magazine.

"The About.com acquisition is completely in line with IAC's (acquisition) strategy of acquiring, at disciplined valuations, companies that are complementary and synergistic with both our existing businesses and our areas of expertise," said Greg Blatt, IAC's chief executive.

"We are extremely excited to bring these two businesses together; About.com's content will differentiate and greatly increase the authority of Ask.com's offerings, while Ask's expertise in search technology and user experience will improve the discoverability of existing content on About.com."

The Times Co said it would use the cash "for general corporate purposes".

"About.com has been a strong contributor to our company since its acquisition in 2005," said Arthur Sulzberger Jr, chairman of the Times Co.

"About's early expertise in search engine optimisation, expert content and revenues from cost-per-click and display advertising made it a valuable component of our portfolio for the past seven years. 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."

The Times is moving to boost its revenues from its online news operations.

Like other US newspapers, The New York Times has been struggling with declining print advertising revenue, falling circulation and the migration of readers to free news online.

The Times began charging in March last year for full access to NYTimes.com and it launched a subscription-only website for the Boston Globe in October.