Looking to combine The New York Times Company’s information portal About.com with its own question-and-answer service, Ask.com, Barry Diller’s IAC offered to acquire the About Group on Aug. 21. The NYT Co said Sunday it had agreed to sell the company, which also includes ConsumerSearch.com and CalorieCount.com, to IAC in an all-cash deal that is expected to close in the next several weeks. The NYT Co paid $410M for About in 2005, but its fortunes have soured against competition from Google. Nevertheless, NYT Co chairman Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. said Sunday, “About.com has been a strong contributor to our company since its acquisition. This sale will allow the Times Company to focus on the development and growth of our core brands locally, nationally and on a global scale.”
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that talks between The Daily Beast and Newsweek have cratered. The two companies had been discussing a deal to make Tina Brown editor of Newsweek. But details couldn’t be worked out surrounding the division of power between Brown, new Newsweek owner Sidney Harman, and Barry Diller, who’s chairman …
MTV CHANGE-UP: Tony DiSanto & Liz Gateley Exit For ProdCo Backed By Ben Silverman; David Janollari To Get Upped
EXCLUSIVE: I hear that MTV’s president of programming Tony DiSanto and his top lieutenant, SVP series development Liz Gateley, will be leaving the network to form a production company that will focus on film as well as scripted and unscripted television. I hear Ben Silverman’s Electus, backed by Barry Diller’s IAC, will own a stake in the new company which has already lined up a number of commitments, including some from MTV. Meanwhile, former WB entertainment president David Janollari, who joined MTV in January as EVP scripted development, will most likely be elevated to a top programming position at the channel. Janollari, who may not inherit DiSanto’s president of programming title, would probably oversee series but not specials, news and events. I hear Janollari has been offered the job and has until tomorrow to accept, which he is expected to do. DiSanto and Gateley are expected to stay through the end of the year to help with the transition.