August 28, 2012, 11:29 AM —
IAC, Barry Diller's InterActiveCorp, paid about $300 million in cash to buy About.com's family of sites from the New York Times Company.
The Times Company bought About.com et al in 2005 for about $410 million, meaning they took a loss. Why? The release says, “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,” after saying how valuable About.com has been over the past few years.
IAC quotes are about as revealing. “This is a rare merger with true bilateral synergies," said Joey Levin, CEO of IAC Search & Applications in their own release. Some have criticized IAC's handling of Ask.com. While About.com recieves about 52 million unique monthly visitors, Ask.com got 87 million in July. The deal should close in a few weeks.
$75 million of the $300 million Ask.com sales proceeds must be used to retire NYT bonds maturing September 26, 2012. NYT also has $250 million of bonds maturing March 15, 2015, and $450 million of bonds maturing December 15, 2016.
Paul Esch on wsj.com
About.com typically has very easy to digest articles that are great for step-by-step or "here's a quick summary of a subject" queries.
Scott Carmichael on techcrunch.com
About.com is worth more in the hands of New York Times Co. Advertising revenue will likely decrease in the short-term, but if they find a clever way to mesh ask.com and about.com, they'll be golden.
Tamara Rosennn on wsj.com
Does this deal make you think About.com is moving up or down?