Internet businesses operator IAC/InterActiveCorp. (IACI: Quote) has submitted an offer of more than $300 million to buy About.com from the New York Times Co. (NYT: Quote), according to media reports on Tuesday.
The offer is higher than the $270 million reportedly offered by Answers.com, a website backed by private equity firms Summit Partners and TA Associates.
In early August, New York Times confirmed that it is engaged in talks regarding the potential sale of About Group. However, the company did not name the parties involved in the talks.
Prior to that, website AllThingsD had reported that question-and-answers site Answers.com has signed a letter of intent to buy About.com for $270 million, citing people familiar with the deal.
The About Group segment consists of the websites of About.com, ConsumerSearch.com, and CalorieCount.com.
About.com focuses on delivering content on everyday topics, while ConsumerSearch.com analyzes expert and user-generated consumer product reviews and CalorieCount.com offers weight management tools, nutritional information, and social support.
According to media reports, Barry Diller's IAC wants to combine About.com with its own Ask.com search engine. The company, with cash and cash equivalents of almost $1 billion on its balance sheet, also has a dating site, Match.com.
New York Times is the publisher of its namesake newspaper, Boston Globe and the Telegram. The company acquired About.com for $410 million in 2005.
Of late, the About Group has been a drag on New York Times' results. The company recorded a non-cash charge of $194.7 million during the second quarter for the write-down of goodwill at the About Group.
New York Times has been selling assets in recent years to focus more on its flagship newspaper business. In late December, the company said it has agreed to sell its Regional Media Group, consisting of 16 regional newspapers, other print publications and related businesses, to Halifax Media Holdings LLC for $143 million in cash.
Last Tuesday, New York Times named outgoing BBC Director-General Mark Thompson as its next president and CEO, ending a long search for a successor following Janet Robinson's ouster last December.
NYT closed Tuesday's regular trading session at $9.26, down $0.10 or 1.07 percent on a volume of 1.55 million shares.
IACI closed Tuesday's trading at $51.90, down $0.41 or 0.78 percent on a volume of 550,445 shares.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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