A circulating rumor picked by by Reuters and Bloomberg claims that Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ: IACI) has bid $300 million for About.com, a search property owned by The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT). It was reported a week ago that the firm which owns Answer.com had offered $270 million for About.com. The offer lacked funding.
It would be hard to find a better home for About.com than IACI. It already owns search property Ask.com, which gathers a relatively small portion of U.S. online searches. About.com has the potential to give Diller’s search operations additional reach. IACI also has a large back-office and corporate staff which would likely allow About.com expenses to be cut.
The current challenge with About.com is that Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) cut the site’s page rank two years ago because of the search sites aggregation methods. That has caused a sharp slide in revenue and operating profit. That problem likely cannot be reversed.
Douglas A. McIntyre