The New York Times’ ownership of About.com may be coming to an end. The paper has been looking to get rid of the struggling Q&A site and has a deal in place to sell it to Answers.com. The site has signed a letter of intent to buy About for $270 million, according to AllThingsD.com.
The deal hasn’t closed yet and AllThingsD was told that Answers’ backers — PE firms Summit Partners and TA Associates — are trying to line up financing.
The Times bought About, the precursor to “content farms” like Demand Media, for $410 million in 2005. Last year, About CEO Cella Irvine left the company.
Last month, the Times took a $195 million goodwill write-down on the unit, which is largely dependent on search traffic from Google.
“While About is gaining momentum in its turnaround efforts, and we expect to build on that progress in the second half of the year, we have reduced our long-term display growth and profitability assumptions for the group,” Times CFO James Follo told investors.
AllThingsD asked Answers’ executives for comment. Times PR head Robert Christie says, “the company has a policy that it doesn’t discuss potential acquisitions and divestitures.”