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The New York Times Co is nearing a deal to sell its flagging About Group, the digital unit housing the consumer how-to website that was once considered a cornerstone of the publisher’s digital strategy.
Answers.com, a questions and answer site, is in talks with the publisher of the New York Times to buy About for about $270m, according to one person with knowledge of the discussions.
The New York Times Co acquired About for $410m in 2005, but it has been a drag on the business amid declines in advertising and traffic. Last month, the New York Times was hit with a $195m writedown on About.
The New York Times Co, publisher of the New York Times and Boston Globe newspapers, confirmed it was in talks for a potential sale of About. The publisher said negotiations are ongoing and that it is not certain a deal will be reached.
The news comes as the New York Times is in the midst a search for a new chief executive. The new chief will inherit a company with much less extensive operations than those overseen by Janet Robinson, the previous chief executive. The New York Times has sold its television group, regional newspapers and its stake in the Red Sox over the course of the past several years.
“(The New York Times) will become a pure-play newspaper company, something most peers have attempted to diversify away from over the past decade,” said John Janedis, an analyst with UBS.