AOL buying Huffington Post for $315 million
The Huffington Post is being sold to AOL Inc. for $315 million.
As part of the deal, which Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington announced on her blog and AOL announced in a news release, Huffington is to become president and editor in chief of a new Huffington Post Media Group division at AOL.
The purchase of the popular news and opinion website will increase AOL's news portfolio as it competes against Yahoo's growing online news publication profile and Google's news efforts as well as traditional media companies online.
Huffington will gain control of additional AOL news websites dealing with news, technology, women, entertainment and video content.
The combination of AOL's media efforts and the Huffington Post will reach about 117 million viewers in the U.S. and 270 million globally, AOL said.
In a statement, AOL said it is using about $300 million in on-hand cash in the purchase.
The deal still has to meet government approvals, but the boards of directors of each company and shareholders of the Huffington Post have approved the transaction, AOL said.
The transaction is expected to close by the end of the first quarter or the early part of the second quarter this year, AOL said.
"The Huffington Post has already been growing at a prodigious rate," Huffington said. "But my New Year's resolution for 2011 was to take HuffPost to the next level -- not just incrementally, but exponentially. With the help of our CEO, Eric Hippeau, and our president and head of sales, Greg Coleman, we'd been able to make the site profitable. Now was the time to take leaps."
Huffington said her staff set goals early this year to expand into more local news coverage for the Huffington Post, the launch of international sections for the website -- with a "HuffPost Brazil" section coming first -- and more original video content.
She also noted that a goal was to add more coverage of automobiles, music, games and minority communities. It was around the same time that the Huffington Post was setting these goals that AOL Chairman and Chief Executive Tim Armstrong got in touch with the online publication.
AOL, with its network of blogs on autos, music, sports and news, as well as its local news start-up effort Patch.com and video-production resources, had all the tools needed to help the Huffington Post meet its goals, Huffington said.
Things moved quickly over the last few weeks, and a deal was signed Sunday at the Super Bowl, she said.
"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," she said.
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Photo: Arianna Huffington. Credit: Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times