AOL is more than doubling down on its bet on news, as it has purchased news site The Huffington Post. The announcement came just after midnight on Monday morning. AOL will pay $315 million for the HuffPo, $300 million of it in cash, with the rest in shares of stock.
Last September AOL purchased TechCrunch and its satellite sites. Prior to that, AOL owned a number of other blogs and sites, including Engadget and the Weblogs blog network.
Huffington Post Co-founder Arianna Huffington (pictured) will become president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group within AOL. Reportedly, once the deal is finalized, which is expected to be in late Q1 or early Q2 2011, Arianna Huffington will be in charge of all of AOL content and other properties, including the aforementioned Engadget and TechCrunch, along with MapQuest, AOL Music, and still more.
However, HuffPo CEO Eric Hippeau and Chief Revenue Officer Greg Coleman will be leaving. Huffington said she would move New York from Los Angeles, although will also keep her longtime Brentwood home in California. The move, and all the added responsibility, probably also means that Huffington will drop her voiceover work for “The Cleveland Show” (sob).
In a blog post describing the acquisition, Arianna Huffington described in detail how the deal came about, including the fact that the deal was actually signed at Super Bowl XLV. 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.
In an email announcing the move to current AOL employees, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong said that combined, AOL and HuffPo will have 117 million domestic unique visitors (UVs) monthly, and about 270 million globally. He added the following:
AOL is playing to win…and The Huffington Post and AOL will occupy a unique place in the future of the Internet. Let’s go get it done.