AOL drops $315 million for Huffington Post, names Huffington content boss

AOL drops $315 million for Huffington Post, names Huffington content boss

Summary: The acquisition of The Huffington Post will create a next-generation American media company, says AOL chief Tim Armstrong.

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What I wouldn't do to be a fly on the wall at that first AOL editorial meeting where TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington goes head-to-head with his new boss, Arianna Huffington.

AOL, which has been aggressively beefing up its editorial content under the leadership of CEO Tim Armstrong, announced late Sunday that it was buying the Huffington Post in a $315 million mostly cash deal and was naming Huffington the president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group within AOL, which includes well known Engadget and, Arrington's baby, TechCrunch. The news was first reported by Kara Swisher, who pens the Boomtown blog on All Things Digital. In a press release, Armstrong said:

The acquisition of The Huffington Post will create a next-generation American media company with global reach that combines content, community, and social experiences for consumers. Together, our companies will embrace the digital future and become a digital destination that delivers unmatched experiences for both consumers and advertisers.

As for the naming of Huffington to the top content job, Armstrong said:

Arianna is a singularly passionate and dedicated champion of innovative journalistic engagement, and a master of the art of using new media to illuminate, entertain and enhance the national conversation. Arianna is a remarkable person and she will continue to create remarkable outcomes for the combined company.

Huffington, in the statement, said:

We are fusing a legendary and powerful new media brand with a vibrant, innovative news organization, known for its distinctive voice, a highly engaged audience, an expertise in community-building, and a track record for demystifying the news and putting flesh and blood on the data while drawing our audience into the conversation.

It's a bold - and pricey - move for  Armstrong, who was brought in as CEO nearly two years ago to beef up the company and perhaps make it more attractive for a suitor. Last May, at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York, Armstrong went on stage to declare that the next phase of the Internet was about content and four months later, on a San Francisco stage of the same conference, he and Arrington were side-by-side again to announce AOL's acquisition of TechCrunch. Terms of that deal weren't announced but various reports put a $25 million price tag on it - less than 10 percent of what Huffington reportedly grabbed.

Swisher reported that the deal between AOL and Huffington Post was finalized late Sunday afternoon and that the boards of directors for both company and shareholders of the Huffington Post had approved it. Swisher also scored an exclusive sit-down chat with the two in Dallas on Sunday, just before the Super Bowl. She describes the two as being "jovial that the whirlwind deal, begun in November, actually worked out so quickly."

The news came as a late post-Super Bowl surprise to pretty much everyone except for Swisher, whose blog post was filled with details, background, history and even the official press release and Armstrong's internal memo to employees. That's quite the contrast of the post published on TechCrunch, which was thin on details and landed about 20 or so minutes after the Boomtown post - and had to rely on the press release for details.

The move is being characterized by some bloggers as a snub to Arrington, a tough-to-get-along-with kind of blogger who has reportedly had some, um, creative differences with folks at other Team AOL blogs, notably Engadget. The buzz is that Arrington - who is supposed to hang around for at least three years - won't make it through this year with Arianna calling the shots.

The deal is expected to close later this quarter or early in the second quarter

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  • RE: AOL drops $315 million for Huffington Post, names Huffington content boss and snubs TechCrunch

    Mike Arrington is a ROYALLY unredeemable pain in the ass. I mean, he's about the only person to date exasperating enough to send the normally calm and collected Leo Laporte careening over the edge of sanity. Good riddance.
    Playdrv4me
  • AOL isn't the powerhouse it once was

    In fact, it's kind of a has-been as far as the internet goes. At least those stupid CDs full of crapware, ready to infect your machine like a cancer, aren't being sent out anymore.

    The Huffington Post is about as credible as the National Enquirer and represents a further dumbing-down of the news. Maybe they'll merge it into irrelevance with AOL's current irrelevance.
    LTV10
    • RE: AOL drops $315 million for Huffington Post, names Huffington content boss and snubs TechCrunch

      @LTV10
      I agree completely, one worthless outfit, joining with an even more worthless outfit, interesting to see it together they can be worth something.
      Spoiled Pork
    • RE: AOL drops $315 million for Huffington Post, names Huffington content boss and snubs TechCrunch

      @LTV10 If anything, it's the death of one progressive "news" outlet by another news outlet that tends to be driven by it's moronic masses.
      nix_hed
      • RE: AOL drops $315 million for Huffington Post, names Huffington content boss and snubs TechCrunch

        @nix_hed - this is nothing more than merging one kind of horsesh!t with another kind of horesh!t.

        In the end, it all stinks anyway...
        search & destroy
  • RE: AOL drops $315 million for Huffington Post, names Huffington content boss and snubs TechCrunch

    LOL, LOL, LOL. Was that a purchase or did someone con someone. This is a very interesting development.
    shanedr
  • I definitely agree with the negative...

    comments here. Apparently @hole and Huffing and puffing were made for each other! ]:)

    Friends don't let friends do A(h)OL(e)!!
    JCitizen
  • RE: AOL drops $315 million for Huffington Post, names Huffington content boss and snubs TechCrunch

    Seems I heard on the news today that Newsweek sold for $1. It just goes to show AOL has lost it's vision. I have not used them in years and this just drives me further away, not closer.
    geoff.schardein
  • RE: AOL drops $315 million for Huffington Post, names Huffington content boss and snubs TechCrunch

    This is quite a development. I find Arianna fascinating as is watching her continuing ascension into one of the most powerful media personalities around.

    AOL already has quite a family of popular websites including the very popular Endgadget and now they are picking up their biggest brand yet in HuffingtonPost, and rock star of a boss to boot.
    Mythos7
    • RE: AOL drops $315 million for Huffington Post, names Huffington content boss and snubs TechCrunch

      @Mythos7

      I'll have a hit of whatever you've been smoking, please.
      Hallowed are the Ori
  • RE: AOL drops $315 million for Huffington Post, names Huffington content boss and snubs TechCrunch

    "We are fusing a legendary and powerful new media brand with a vibrant, innovative news organization"

    Were two other entities mentioned in this story? I missed it.
    PepperdotNet
  • RE: AOL drops $315 million for Huffington Post, names Huffington content boss and snubs TechCrunch

    Isn't George Soros a big backer of Huffjunque?

    JB
    jbobst
    • And, they're both foreigners, even if they have official American

      citizenship. Both of them would like nothing better than to destroy what our founding fathers had intended.
      adornoe
  • TechCrunch is Crap... Huffington Post too partisan

    ... is content in the post Web 2.0 era is going to be nothing but a collection of fringe brands that are aggregated into a portfolio of a larger entity?

    If this is supposed to lead to content that I might actually want to pay for in the future, count me out. I can barely stomach any of those entities for free.
    croberts
  • Public toilet stalls all over the world have much more important

    and interesting and informative and entertaining content than what can be found in the Huffingtion Post, or even in AOL.
    adornoe
    • Why don't you go stick your head in the john

      ...and do a Larry Craig teabag for us, ya silly_asswipe
      search & destroy
      • Is that you Arianna? I must've hit a nerve.

        But, you have to admit, I was right on with my post. How do I know? Well, it's people like you who hate to be exposed for what you really are. So, go back into that latrine known as liberal-land and leave the sane people alone.
        adornoe
      • And you have to admit...

        ...you took good ole toe-tapping lessons from good ole Larry, now didn't ya?

        LOL... :D
        search & destroy
      • search & destroy: Larry Craig? Sounds like you're a lot more

        familiar with the dude than I am. Why would that be? ;)
        adornoe
  • RE: AOL drops $315 million for Huffington Post, names Huffington content boss and snubs TechCrunch

    I always maintained my AOL account and paid the minute fee in order to keep their unique drag and drop mail feature. I is wonderful for selling on eBay. But......after 11 years, even that won't be enough. The venom that comes out of that woman's mouth disguised as legitimate news on her site is ridiculous. I am on my way to cancel my account as soon as I disconnect it from eBay, Paypal and a couple of other things I used it exclusively. If anyone knows of a email system where you can cut and paste (pictures) directly from one mail window to another, please help!! surfyngirl@cox.net
    surfyngirl