Looking to combine The New York Times Company’s information portal About.com with its own question-and-answer service, Ask.com, Barry Diller’s IAC offered to acquire the About Group on Aug. 21. The NYT Co said Sunday it had agreed to sell the company, which also includes ConsumerSearch.com and CalorieCount.com, to IAC in an all-cash deal that is expected to close in the next several weeks. The NYT Co paid $410M for About in 2005, but its fortunes have soured against competition from Google. Nevertheless, NYT Co chairman Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. said Sunday, “About.com has been a strong contributor to our company since its acquisition. 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.” In a separate statement, IAC CEO Greg Blatt said, “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 complementary nature of these two businesses will provide significant synergies going forward, and thus we expect that About.com will generate more profit as a part of Ask.com and IAC than it has been able to over the last few years.”
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