N.Y. Times Close to Selling About.com

New York Times Company plans to sell its content mill site About.com to Answers.com

The New York Times Company is selling About.com, its struggling content mill site, to Answers.com, an individual close to the the situation told TheWrap.

The paper has been looking to boot the ailing site, which produces cheap, high-volume, search-engine-friendly content, for a while now and will sell it for $270 million.

Answers.com, which publishes similar general-interest explainations to About.com — "What are polarized sunglasses?" or "When did Elvis have his first number 1 hit?" — has signed a letter of intent to buy About.

The deal hasn't yet closed, but Answers' financial backers Summit Partners and TA Associates are lining up the money.

The Times bought About for $410 million in 2005 as it was diversifying its digital portfolio. But last year, About CEO Cella Irvine left the company after a string of lousy quarters, and About's financial record has not improved.

Also read: N.Y. Times Finalizes Deal to Sell Regional Newspapers

Last month, the Times took a $195 million goodwill write-down on the unit after Google altered its algorithm to filter out content farms such as About from top search results in an effort to elevate higher-quality content.

The Gray Lady sold its regional media group last December, and many have speculated that it will also sell the New England Media Group, which houses sister paper the Boston Globe and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, as well as the papers' accompanying digital properties.

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