AOL Buys Huffington Post for $315 Million

 AOL has purchased the news site Huffington Post for $315 million -- $300 million in cash. Huffington Post editor Arianna Huffington will become president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, which will include all of Huffington Post’s and AOL’s content.

AOL, led by Chief Executive Officer Tim Armstrong, acquired the TechCrunch blog and 5Min Media last year, investing in the specialized websites and production of original video content, in hopes of generating Internet traffic and attracting advertising revenue. The number of unique visitors to Huffington Post, which posts both aggregate articles and original content, has grown to about 25 million a month since its debut in 2005.

Shahid Khan, chairman and chief strategist at MediaMorph Inc., a New-York based digital media-tracking service, said, “With this acquisition, Tim Armstrong is well on his way to transforming AOL into an online editorial-based content company. HuffPost gives AOL a very compelling, affluent, educated young audience. It further strengthens AOL’s overall editorial abilities with Arianna in charge.

AOL has been struggling with declining revenue in both its advertising and Internet-access subscription businesses. On the other side, Huffington Post had revenue of about $30 million last year and has been aiming to increase that more than three-fold to $100 million in 2012.

With this new acquisition, Huffington Post material will be integrated with AOL content, including Engadget, TechCrunch, Moviefone, and Mapquest.

“Huffington Post brings another level of ability for us to serve brand marketers,” Armstrong said. He said marketers contacted in recent hours are “very interested in this combination.”

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