New York Times poised to offload how-to site

Wednesday, August 8th 2012. | Internet News

The New York Times has announced that it is poised to sell the resource guide, ending a costly and ill-fated attempt to extend its online publishing business.

AllThingsD first reported that the Times is looking to sell to the online Q&A business site The NYT bought About for $ 400m in 2005.

The Times confirmed that it is in late stage talks to sell About, but said “negotiations are ongoing, and there can be no assurances that an agreement will be reached or that a transaction will be completed.”

The Times made a net loss of $ 88.1m in the second quarter, as a $ 194.7m write-down on the value of About wiped out gains from paying subscribers and a small increase in revenues. produces articles and how-to videos on a topics from finance and physics to astrology and pet care. Its revenue fell 8.7% to $ 25.4m last quarter, and it posted an operating loss of $ 186.8m., set up by internet entrepreneur Bill Gross in 1998, is similar to About and calls itself “the most trusted place for answering life’s questions.” Answers, which is based in St Louis, did not respond to requests for comment.

The sale comes as the New York Times is increasingly focusing on its core business and selling peripheral assets. The company sold its remaining stakes in the Fenway Sports Group, owner of the Boston Red Sox, to an unnamed buyer in May. Last year it sold Regional Media Group, owner of 16 local newspapers across the US, to Halifax Media Holdings for $ 143m.’s latest sale is not the first time a buyer has lost money on the web business. The New York Times bought About from Primedia, a privately-held media firm, which had paid $ 690m for the company at the height of the internet bubble in 2000.

Related For New York Times poised to offload how-to site