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Originally published January 24, 2012 at 6:11 PM | Page modified January 25, 2012 at 11:11 AM

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Allrecipes.com sold for $175M, may expand

Publishing giant Meredith bought the Seattle-based online food site from Reader's Digest Association.

Seattle Times senior technology reporter

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Seattle-based Allrecipes.com was sold for $175 million to publishing giant Meredith, which could expand the thriving online-food site.

The seller was Reader's Digest Association, which bought Allrecipes in 2006 for $66 million as part of a push to broaden its online presence. The site was started by Web entrepreneur Tim Hunt in 1997 after he had trouble finding his favorite cookie recipe online.

Allrecipes prospered after its acquisition — employment tripled from 50 to about 150 and it's now the top food site on the Web by the number of visitors — but Reader's Digest filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009.

As part of the reorganization, Reader's Digest has been shopping Allrecipes around since October.

Meredith spokesman Patrick Taylor said Allrecipes will remain in Seattle.

"We're not planning on making any changes," he said.

The office could be expanded, but Des Moines, Iowa-based Meredith, which counts Ladies' Home Journal and Better Homes and Gardens among its magazine titles, isn't providing details yet. In its release, the company said it "plans to invest in Allrecipes.com to optimize the site for today's growing online and mobile audiences."

"We are hoping that as we create some synergies we can growth both our businesses," Patrick said.

Allrecipes becomes the cornerstone of Meredith's recent effort to "strengthen its position as the leader in the digital and food-content marketplace," the company said in a release.

Allrecipes will nearly double annual sales for Meredith Women's Network and gives it an audience of 100 million American women. The combined sites will have almost 40 million monthly unique visitors.

Meredith also plans to apply Allrecipes' search-marketing expertise to the company's other platforms.

Brier Dudley: 206-515-5687 or bdudley@seattletimes.com

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