The Real Super Bowl Winner: Huffington Post sells for $315M to AOL

This is, by far, AOL's biggest move in the new media space.

AOL acquires Huffington Post for $315M

In Summary
  • AOL announced it's acquiring The Huffington Post for $315 million -- $300M in cash, and $15M in stock.
  • "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," AOL CEO Tim Armstrong said in a statement.
  • Huffington Post was founded in 2005, and reached 25 million unique visitors in December, according to comScore. AOL says that a combination of the two sites will reach a total of 117 million unique U.S. visitors.
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AOL acquires Huffington Post for $315M

How ironic is it that this breaking news alert — AOL to Buy The Huffington Post in $315 Million Deal — came to me via The New York Times?

AOL continues to make aggressive moves in the new media and publishing markets, snapping up just about any semi-decent web property across the land. Previously the company has bought brands such as TechCrunch ($25M?) and Engadget in an attempt to re-make itself into a media powerhouse.

But $315M? The Huffington Post?

I did not see this one coming. Nor did I think anyone else.

It’s the biggest deal concerning blogs and new media — at least to my knowledge. And it’s going to truly test the limits of where next-generation journalism, reporting and publishing infrastructure are headed.

The price appears to be very handsome. As far as I know HuffPost’s revenue was about $30M. That’s based purely on speculation from what others have reported. At that rate the deal reflects a 10x multiple. Incredible.

Kara Swisher of All Things Digital (Wall Street Journal) wrote in her post:

As part of the deal, Huffington Post Co-founder Arianna Huffington (pictured here)–who was derided by some when she co-founded the left-leaning site in 2005 with investor and well-known communications exec Kenneth Lerer–will become president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group within AOL.

Tim Fisher says the deal for AOL and its investors is about:

  • User growth (and traffic)
  • Display growth
  • Connect local

“This deal for us accelerates those things substantially,” he said.

Well, there you have it. A huge news move on a huge sports day. I just hope the result is better than the sound bites … “1 + 1 = 11” … oh boy, what is this, the Spinal Tap school of marketing?

More: Betting on News, AOL Is Buying The Huffington Post

Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Mon, February 07, 2011 — 12:05 AM ET
—–

AOL to Buy The Huffington Post in $315 Million Deal

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 were
expected to announce the deal Monday morning. The deal will
allow AOL to greatly expand its news gathering and original
content creation, areas that its chief executive, Tim
Armstrong, views as vital to reversing a decade-long decline.

Read More:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/07/business/media/07aol.html?emc=na

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