The New York Times Company appears to be shedding some layers this morning, as AllThingsD reported that it's planning to sell About.com for $270 million to Answers.com. The New York Times has also confirmed that the company is in discussions to sell the About Group via a press release but have not officially disclosed any details.
The New York Times Company bought About.com for a $410 million in 2005, which, if you're keeping score at home, means it would take a hit of about $140 million in the deal.
However, the sale of About.com would likely come as a relief to the Times' balance sheets. Just last month, the company posted a second-quarter operating loss of $143 million after a $194 million goodwill write-down for the About Group.
The Times is no doubt looking to shed the search-driven answer site, which, like Demand Media, saw its traffic dip after a change to Google's search algorithms. The New York Times Company has been having some moderate success with its other digital initiatives, though. Digital subscriptions, for example, have been increasing steadily (some estimates even have digital subscriptions surpassing print by 2014).
But things are not all rosy for the company, which has seen substantial losses over the past quarters in both print and digital advertising. With this in mind, the impending sale of About.com will no doubt free up some room to continue to improve the Times' digital efforts in the coming months and years.