THE US WALLED GARDEN AOL, the Internet service provider (ISP) that once kept postmen and CD manufacturers in business, has announced its purchase of the forward thinking news and opinion website, The Huffington Post.
The ISP, which bought and was gutted by Time Warner when its name meant something, has recently released some new logos, and perhaps more importantly thrown a lot of money in the direction of high profile web content providers in a bid to now reinvent itself and rise, phoenix-like, from the ashes of an obsolete dial-up Internet access business model that it apparently has clung to for far too long.
Since those glory days of pumping out cheap drinks coasters for seemingly everyone in the US, AOL's considerable post room must have been replaced with desks, as recently it has acquired titles including Techcrunch and Engadget, and now has paid $315 million for the 25 million pageviews a month Huffington Post, along with its notable editrix in chief, Arianna Huffington, in a bid to recreate itself as a relevant media content empire.
"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, the 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."
"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."
The one-time independent candidate for Governor of California, long divorced from bisexual oil baron and losing US Senate candidate Michael Huffington, journalist, former conservative and now liberal media magnate will become president and editor-in-chief of AOL's Huffington Post Media Group, which will include the aforementioned Engadget, Techcrunch, Moviefone, Mapquest, Black Voices, Popeater, AOL Music, AOL Latino, Autoblog, Patch, Stylelist, and - although that sounds like plenty - even more obscure online content niches that have languished within AOL's walled garden of dial-up delights.
"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."
The deal is expected to close in the Spring. Tina Brown and Graydon Carter, watch out. µ