Ask beats Answers with $300M bid for About.com

August 27, 2012

(AP)—The New York Times Co. is selling its troubled online information service, About.com, to the parent company of Ask.com for $300 million in cash.

That offer trumped a $270 million bid from Answers.com that was reported three weeks ago.

The Times and IAC/InterActiveCorp announced the deal late Sunday. IAC, which also operates the dating site Match.com, is controlled by media mogul Barry Diller.

About provides information on a wide variety of topics and also operates ConsumerSearch.com and CalorieCount.com. Content is written by paid experts known as guides. Ask is a search engine that has tried to set itself apart from competitors by focusing on finding answers to search requests posed in the form of a question. Ask still ranks far below Google and Microsoft's Bing in terms of use.

IAC said Ask and About will continue to operate as separate sites and will complement each other. The Ask search engine can draw on content from About in answering those search queries, and Ask can boost traffic to About by directing more users there.

The Times purchased About in 2005 for some $410 million. About has suffered in the past year because a change in the way Google handles search results made About content harder to find.

In the April-June quarter, the Times took a $126 million after-tax charge against earnings to reflect the declining value of the About business.

In that quarter, revenue from About fell 9 percent from a year ago to $25.4 million. Its adjusted operating profit fell 30 percent to $10.2 million.

Although the Times had been upbeat over About's prospects, Times Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. said the sale allows the company to focus on its core brands, which include such newspapers as The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune and The Boston Globe.

Times' stock fell 3 cents to $9.20 in midday trading Monday. The shares are close to the 52-week high of $9.57 hit last week.

Shares of IAC, also based in New York, rose 55 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $52.05. They hit a 52-week high of $54.20 a month ago.

Explore further: IAC to shutter Web site aimed at black community

0 shares

Related Stories

IAC has 2Q profit; revenue falls in weak ad market

July 29, 2009

(AP) -- IAC/InterActiveCorp, the company behind such Internet properties as Match.com, Ask and Citysearch, posted a second-quarter profit that fell short of analyst expectations Wednesday and indicated the online ad market ...

IAC reports 3Q profit but ad revenue still slips

October 27, 2009

(AP) -- IAC/InterActiveCorp, which runs Match.com, Ask.com and other Web sites, said Tuesday that asset sales helped it profit in the third quarter while advertising revenue continued to slump.

Online ad improvement seen in IAC's 4Q loss

February 9, 2010

(AP) -- Internet company IAC/InterActiveCorp lost $1 billion in the fourth quarter because it wrote down the value of its search business, but the results beat expectations and offered the latest indication that the online ...

IAC 3Q revenue up, profit down on year-ago boost

October 27, 2010

(AP) -- IAC/InterActiveCorp, the Internet company run by billionaire Barry Diller, saw a big jump in revenue in the latest quarter because of improvements in online advertising and an expansion in the number of people looking ...

Liberty Media gives up stake in Diller's IAC

December 2, 2010

(AP) -- Barry Diller and John Malone, two media moguls whose partnerships over the past 17 years have been rocky at times, are cutting more of their business ties as Malone's Liberty Media sheds its voting stake in Diller's ...

Recommended for you

Schlieren images reveal supersonic shock waves

August 27, 2015

NASA researchers in California are using a modern version of a 150-year-old German photography technique to capture images of shock waves created by supersonic airplanes. Over the past five years scientists from NASA's Armstrong ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.