Property: Huffington Post
Seller: Huffington Post
Date: February 2011
Price: $315 million
One week after Newsweek and The Daily Beast finalized their merger, AOL has announced that it was buying The Huffington Post for $315 million.
Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington took over AOL editorial operations as head of the Huffington Post Media Group.
Huffington herself made out well in the deal, receiving $100 million, according to the Washington Post.
While AOL’s content strategy at the time had emphasized, quick, low cost editorial through initiatives such as local news network Patch, it also made several content acquisitions, including TechCrunch and video distribution company 5min media. The deal gave AOL a high-profile content site that produced a tremendous amount of content across several verticals.
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 in 2010.
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.
From a branding standpoint, you almost can’t tell Huffington Post is part of the AOL network, although the site is available from a drop-down news menu on AOL’s home page.
More recently, the Huffington Post Media Group announced plans to begin offering a streaming video network that would make video available 12 hours a day.
The AOL/Huffington Post deal was one of the largest online content deals of the year.