The Huffington Post, Ariana Huffington’s news and political focused website, has been acquired by AOL for $315 million — $300 million cash, the rest in stock.
Huff Po began in 2005 with a $1 million investment; it has since grown into one of the most heavily visited news Web sites in the country. The NYT called the deal “an unlikely pairing of two online media giants.” It is the company’s largest acquisition since the break up of AOL Time Warner in 2009.
In a surprise, Arianna Huffington will take control of all of AOL’s editorial content as president and editor in chief of a newly created Huffington Post Media Group. The Times notes she will have oversight not only of “AOL’s national, local and financial news operations, but also of the company’s other media enterprises like MapQuest and Moviefone.” The deal was signed on Sunday at the Super Bowl in Dallas, where Huffington and AOL CEO Tim Armstrong were watching the game.
AOL owns a series of well-known digital brands, including Mapquest, Politics Daily, the pop-culture news site PopEater, movie-news and ticket reservation service Moviefone, and the tech-news and review sites Engadget and TechCrunch, and local site Patch.com. This is at least the 5th acquisition by AOL since September 2010 (About.me, TechCrunch, 5min Media, Thing Labs).
Betting on News, AOL Is Buying The Huffington Post
JEREMY W. PETERS and VERNE G. KOPYTOFF
NYT, February 7, 2011