07 Feb 2011

AOL Buying HuffPo for $315 Million

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New York Times:

The Huffington Post, which began in 2005 with a meager $1 million investment and has grown into one of the most heavily visited news Web sites in the country, is being acquired by AOL in a deal that creates an unlikely pairing of two online media giants.

The two companies completed the sale Sunday evening and announced the deal just after midnight on Monday. AOL will pay $315 million, $300 million of it in cash and the rest in stock. It will be the company’s largest acquisition since it was separated from Time Warner in 2009. …

Arianna Huffington, the cable talk show pundit, author and doyenne of the political left, 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 arrangement will give her 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.

By handing so much control over to Ms. Huffington and making her a public face of the company, AOL, which has been seen as apolitical, risks losing its nonpartisan image. Ms. Huffington said her politics would have no bearing on how she ran the new business.

The deal has the potential to create an enterprise that could reach more than 100 million visitors in the United States each month. … The Huffington Post.. began as a liberal blog with a small staff but now draws some 25 million visitors every month.

There must be several people connected with Pajamas Media reflecting ruefully on what might have been this morning.

Arianna Huffington is obviously a opportunist and a turncoat, but one does have to give her credit for organizational ability and initiative. She saw the opportunity for a large-scale aggregating site combining left-wing commentary with news and tabloid-style gossip and made it work. There’s the evil and immoral capitalist system that HuffPo so enthusiastically struggles against in operation.

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