One week after Newsweek and The Daily Beast finalized their merger, AOL has announced that it will buy The Huffington Post for $315 million.
Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington will take over AOL editorial operations going forward and AOL sites such as Politics Daily and Daily Finance could be shut down, with writers transferring to Huffington Post, according to The New York Times.
Huffington herself is making out well in the deal, reciving $100 million, according to the Washington Post. On Monday morning after the deal was announced, Huffington reportedly toasted her colleagues with "champagne and Greek cookies."
While AOL’s recent content strategy has emphasized, quick, low cost editorial through initiatives such as local news network Patch, it’s also made several recent high profile content acquisitions, including TechCrunch and video distribution company 5min media.
AOL isn’t the first major player to be interested in HuffPo. According to an article in Poynter.org, former NBC Universal presdient Jeff Zucker claimed that NBC also attempted to negotiate a purchase with the dotcom for a year and a half ago but "…never could agree on price."
The Huffington Post generated $30 million in revenue and 26 million unique users in 2010, according to comScore. In a conference call with analysts, AOL CFO Arthur Minson said Huffington Post could generate $50 million in revenue in 2011. Meanwhile, AOL cut an estimated 2,500 jobs last year, according to The New York Times.
The deal "will create a next-generation American media company with global reach that combines content, community, and social experiences for consumers," said AOL CEO Tim Armstrong in a statement.