AOL Inc Agrees to Buy The Huffington Post for $315 Million

Acquisition Will Solidify AOL’s Strategy of Creating a Premier Content Network With Local, National and International Reach

New York, NY – February 7, 2011 – AOL Inc. [NYSE:AOL] announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire The Huffington Post, the influential and rapidly growing news, analysis, and lifestyle website founded in 2005, which now counts nearly 25 million unique monthly visitors*.

The transaction will create a premier global, national, local, and hyper-local content group for the digital age – leveraged across online, mobile, tablet, and video platforms. The combination of AOL’s infrastructure and scale with The Huffington Post’s pioneering approach to news and innovative community building among a broad and sophisticated audience will mark a seminal moment in the evolution of digital journalism and online engagement.

The new group will have a combined base of 117 million unique visitors a month in the United States and 270 million around the world**. Following the close of this transaction, AOL will accelerate its strategy to deliver a scaled and differentiated array of premium news, analysis, and entertainment produced by thousands of writers, editors, reporters, and videographers around the globe.

Internet company AOL Inc. is buying news hub Huffington Post in a $315 million deal that observers say represents a bold bet on the future of online news.

As part of the transaction, Arianna Huffington, The Huffington Post’s co-founder and editor-in-chief, will be named president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group, which will include all Huffington Post and AOL content, including Engadget, TechCrunch, Moviefone, MapQuest, Black Voices, PopEater, AOL Music, AOL Latino, AutoBlog, Patch, StyleList, and more.

“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,” said Tim Armstrong, Chairman and CEO of AOL. “Together, our companies will embrace the digital future and become a digital destination that delivers unmatched experiences for both consumers and advertisers.”

Armstrong continued, “Arianna is a singularly passionate and dedicated champion of innovative journalistic engagement, and a master of the art of using new media to illuminate, entertain and enhance the national conversation. Arianna is a remarkable person and she will continue to create remarkable outcomes for the combined company.”

“This is truly a merger of visions and a perfect fit for us,” said Huffington. “The Huffington Post will continue on the same path we have been on for the last six years – though now at light speed – by combining with AOL. Our readers will still be able to come to the Huffington Post at the same URL, and find all the same content they’ve grown to love, plus a lot more – more local, more tech, more entertainment, more finance, and lots more video. We are fusing a legendary and powerful new media brand with a vibrant, innovative news organization, known for its distinctive voice, a highly engaged audience, an expertise in community-building, and a track record for demystifying the news and putting flesh and blood on the data while drawing our audience into the conversation.”

Huffington continued, “By uniting AOL and The Huffington Post, we are creating one of the largest destinations for smart content and community on the Internet. And we intend to keep making it better and better.”

Kenneth Lerer, The Huffington Post’s Co-Founder and Chairman, said, “The Huffington Post team has created a potent brand with the proven track record of knowing how to grow traffic, inform and entertain its readers and build a one-of-a-kind online community. Add that to the powerful scale and resources of AOL and you have the perfect combination for today and the future. Together these two companies will be a premier online content provider. From local citizen reporting through AOL’s Patch, to The Huffington Post’s national reporting on politics, business and culture, consumers will have access to everything they want whenever they want it.”

AOL has agreed to purchase The Huffington Post for $315 million, approximately $300 million of which will be paid in cash funded from cash on hand. The Huffington Post is privately owned by its two cofounders, as well as a group of investors. The proposed transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of government approvals. The boards of directors of each company and shareholders of The Huffington Post have approved the transaction. The transaction is expected to close in the late first- or early second-quarter 2011.

The Huffington Post over-indexes on educated, affluent users, reaching the key decision makers in C-suites around the globe. CEO’s, COO’s, CFO’s, CTO’s CIO’s make up the C-Suites. The highest level executives are usually called “C-level” or part of the “C-suite”, referring to the 3-letter initials starting with “C” and ending with “O” The Huffington Post speaks to this influential audience via a host of prominent voices on its group blog. Among those who have blogged on The Huffington Post are: President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Larry Page, Diane Sawyer, Buzz Aldrin, Nora Ephron, Bill Maher, Madeleine Albright, Robert Redford, Katie Couric, Neil Young, Rahm Emanuel, Mia Farrow, Senator Russ Feingold, Senator Al Franken, Ari Emanuel, Harry Shearer, Senator John Kerry, Representative Nancy Pelosi, Madonna, Lawrence Summers, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ryan Reynolds, Craig Newmark, Alec Baldwin, Aaron Sorkin, Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, Russell Simmons, Sean Penn, Bill Gates, Norman Lear, Charlie Rose, Elizabeth Warren, Tavis Smiley, Sheryl Sandberg, George Clooney, and former President Bill Clinton. And the audience speaks back, generating four million comments a month***.

The Huffington Post’s affluent, influential audience, that is growing at a rate of 22 percent (December 2009 vs. December 2010)****, when combined with AOL’s massive scale, video offerings and local expertise, will represent an incredibly desirable demographic for a broad range of advertising partners across the board.

Arianna Huffington To Lead Newly Formed The Huffington Post Media Group Which Will Integrate All Huffington Post and AOL Content, Including News, Tech, Women, Local, Multicultural, Entertainment, Video, Community, and More

The New Combined Media Group Will Reach 117 Million Americans and 270 Million Globally

As of February 7, 2011, ranks 16th in traffic rank in the United States. ranks 31st.

United States Ranking (Top 31 Website Traffic)
1 Google Enables users to search the Web, Usenet, and images. Features include PageRank, caching and …

2 Facebook A social utility that connects people, to keep up with friends, upload photos, share links and …

3 Yahoo! A major internet portal and service provider offering search results, customizable content …

4 YouTube – Broadcast yourself YouTube is a way to get your videos to the people who matter to you. Upload, tag and share your videos …

5 seeks to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover books and products …

6 Wikipedia A free encyclopedia built collaboratively using wiki software.
Search AnalyticsAudience
7 Free, automated weblog publishing tool that sends updates to a site via FTP.

8 Twitter Social networking and microblogging service utilizing instant messaging, SMS or a web interface.

9 eBay International person to person auction site, with products sorted into categories.


11 Windows Live Search engine from Microsoft.

12 LinkedIn A networking tool to find connections to recommended job candidates, industry experts and business …

13 MSN Portal for shopping, news and money, e-mail, search, and chat.

14 Bing Search engine developed by Microsoft. Features web, image, video, local, news, and product search.

15 Go A searchable directory, news, stocks, sports and free e-mail.

16 AOL AOL – Testing for DMOZ 2.0

17 CNN Interactive News, weather, sports, and services including e-mail news alerts …

18 PayPal Online payment service for individuals and merchants.

19 The Weather Channel Forecasts worldwide, Doppler radar and satellite maps, weather news, and flight and events info…

20 Netflix Flat monthly fee by mail service.

21 ESPN Sports news network. Includes broadcast schedule, game scores and results, and articles on coll…

22 Free blogs managed by the developers of the WordPress software. Includes custom design template…

23 The Internet Movie Database Features plot summaries, reviews, cast lists, and theatre schedules.

24 Flickr Picture galleries available with chat, groups, and photo ratings.

25 Microsoft Corporation Main site for product information, support, and news.

26 The New York Times Online edition of the newspaper’s news and commentary.

27 Go Daddy Domain registrations and hosting services.

28 Bank of America Nationwide bank. Includes product and service information, online banking and bank location finance …

29 About Directory features links, articles and reviews.

30 Apple Inc. Official site, with details of products and services.

31 The Huffington Post Offers syndicated columnists, blogs and news stories with moderated comments.