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Yahoo Pays Big Bucks for Freelance News Site

Yahoo is buying Associated Content, a website that hires freelance writers and video producers to share their expertise on a wide variety of subjects.

The deal marks another step in Yahoo Inc.'s efforts to feature more material that typically isn't covered by traditional media outlets.

Associated Content draws upon more than 350,000 freelancers who contribute how-to stories, reviews, opinion pieces and coverage about what's happening in neighborhoods across the United States.

Yahoo is hoping Associated Content's unique story mix will create more opportunities to sell online advertising and revive its revenue growth.

Associated Content's early investors include Tim Armstrong, CEO of Yahoo rival AOL. AOL has a similar service called Seed.com, which automatically mnakes assignments to its own stable of freelancers, pegged to rankings of what the service's users are interested in.

Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed. (See Yahoo's video interview with Associated Content's Luke Beatty.)

Yahoo expects to complete the purchase in the third quarter. However, the web site AllThingsDigital quotes sources "close to the situation" saying that the price was $90 million in cash. Meanwhile, AdAge puts the sale price at $100 million.

Associated Content was founded in 2004, just as the web 2.0 mania was about to hit. The site reportedly generates roughly 16 million unique monthly visitors.

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