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Ask.com buys Dictionary.com; Bolsters reference content

Ask.com plans to buy Lexico Publishing Group, the company behind Dictionary.
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Written by Larry Dignan on

Ask.com plans to buy Lexico Publishing Group, the company behind Dictionary.com, Thesaurus.com and Reference.com, for an undisclosed sum.

The fourth largest search engine briefed a few reporters on its plans such as News.com's Stephen Shankland. The deal is expected to be officially announced Thursday.

Shankland reports:

Ask.com didn't release terms of the acquisition, but Lexico is "highly profitable, with high double-digit growth for a couple years," said Jim Safka, chief executive of the IAC-owned search site. And by using Ask.com's advertising relationship with Google on the Lexico sites, the company should be able to increase the ad revenue.

Adding Lexico's Web visitor count will increase Ask.com's monthly visitors to 145 million, according to ComScore statistics, Safka said. "Overnight, our unique users will increase by 11 percent, which is outstanding," he said.

Ask.com is part of Barry Diller's IAC empire, which will soon break up into parts.

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