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AOL to Acquire Huffington Post in Merger of News Sites

3 years ago
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Borrowing a line from President Obama, Arianna Huffington announced what she called a "Sputnik moment" for her self-named online publication Sunday night: AOL will purchase the Huffington Post in a $315 million deal that will reverberate through both companies and the larger online news industry.

"By combining HuffPost with AOL's network of sites, thriving video initiative, local focus, and international reach, we know we'll be creating a company that can have an enormous impact, reaching a global audience on every imaginable platform," Huffington told readers Sunday night on her website.

A frequent presence on cable talk shows, the liberal author and blogger will take control of AOL's editorial content as head of a newly created Huffington Post Media Group.

According to an announcement on the AOL corporate website, the two companies "will have a combined base of 117 million unique visitors a month in the United States and 270 million around the world."

AOL Chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong called Huffington "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, 60, co-founded the Huffington Post with Kenneth Lerer -- a former AOL Time Warner executive -- in 2005. The site functions largely as a blog and news aggregator, but has nearly 100 paid staffers complemented by thousands of unpaid writers. The size of its readership has rocketed to 24 million visitors each month -- just two years ago, it attacted 4.5 million.

Launched in 1985 to provide dial-up Internet access to subscribers, AOL merged with Time-Warner in 2001, a marriage that fared poorly and led to a divorce in 2009. In recent years AOL has rebranded itself as a content provider, with such sites as Politics Daily, Fanhouse and many others. More recently it extended its reach through Patch.com, which provides local news and commentary in 775 towns across the U.S.

But AOL has had a tough time thus far reversing its financial standing. During the fourth quarter, revenue fell 26 percent to $596 million and advertising sales dipped 29 percent to $332 million.

Armstrong told the New York Times that the acquisition "is a statement that the company is making investments, and in this case a bold investment, that fits right into our strategy. I think this is going to be a situation where 1 plus 1 equals 11."

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8 Comments

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cwieks

Thank goodness that Huffington is taking over the editorial content from AOL; was ready to dump my account due to AOL's current right wing, reactionary editorial policy and bigoted commentary.

February 10 2011 at 2:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Musicby Les Mack

Gosh, does this mean AOL is gonna get more liberal?!?

February 07 2011 at 10:16 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
pnanos

This is perfect and proves what I have been saying all along. AOL is a left leaning organization that promotes left leaning jounalists and views.

February 07 2011 at 5:56 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
greatqb44

AOL gets more liberal...GOD HELP US ALL

But AOL has had a tough time thus far reversing its financial standing. During the fourth quarter, revenue fell 26 percent to $596 million and advertising sales dipped 29 percent to $332 million.

It's the liberal bias,Stupid

February 07 2011 at 5:48 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
tistolaugh

AOL already has PD, and adding another slanted liberal blog won't really change things.

February 07 2011 at 4:29 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
newpenny95

Dear Aol. As you know I am currently an Aol subscriber for severl years, an
I have been happy to be a part of a great internet site. If you go ahead and buy
the left rag Huffington Post I will cancel my membership
Why would you leave Adrianna Huff still in charge of it ??

February 07 2011 at 4:16 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
otkpls

I am concerned that the left wing Huffington will turn Politicsdaily and other AOL forums into highly biased vehicles for Liberal Democratic advocacy. If that happens, I and others will leave AOL.

February 07 2011 at 2:24 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply
bng1959

This sould sent the right wingers running. I would run if FAUX news bought AOL for sure. wink wink you bet cha

February 07 2011 at 1:51 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
chuckcline1950

Dear AOL----

Your acquisition of the Huffington Post shows me how slanted you really are.

You guys aren't as smart as you would have us believe....a big mistake!!!!!

Chuck
Napa, Ca

February 07 2011 at 11:28 AM Report abuse +11 rate up rate down Reply

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