The New York Times Co. agreed to buy the online consumer information group About.com for 410 million dollars from holding company Primedia in an all-cash deal. The deal announced late Thursday highlights growing traditional media interest in Internet properties following the Washington Post acquisition of news site Slate.com last December and the Dow Jones Co. acquisition of Marketwatch.com.
About.com employs approximately 500 experts or guides who create content on thousands of topics ranging from the arts to zoology, attracting 22-million visitors per month. About.com, which uses considerable advertising, features a variety of information sites about personal finance, consumer electronics, history and geography and other topics. It has been among the most visited properties on the Internet but has been slipping to competitors such as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft's MSN.
Along with their flagship newspaper, the Times owns the Boston Globe, the International Herald Tribune, 16 regional newspapers, 8 television stations and 2 NYC radio stations. It also publishes nearly 40 unique news related websites. About.com, which was put on the block late last year, also attracted interest from Google, Yahoo, Ask Jeeves and AOL. Combining the websites of the two firms would create the 12th largest entity on the Internet, the company said.