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AOL seeds future with video buy

Finds $37m after December layoffs

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

Still-existing web outfit AOL has spent $36.5 million to acquire StudioNow, a Nashville-based startup that builds online video platforms for other companies.

AOL intends to work StudioNow's mojo into Seed.com, the company's media clearinghouse launched last year shortly after the 26-year-old internet company was spun-off from media giant Time Warner.

Seed.com solicits, buys, and distributes topical online content from freelancers across all of AOL's properties. StudioNow will contribute to AOL's in-house video work as well as advertising and content partners.

"Premium original video creation is a fundamental part of AOL's strategy to offer consumers world-class, stimulating content at scale and the integration of StudioNow into Seed.com will enable us to increase our video content/offerings significantly," Tim Armstrong, AOL chief executive and chairman, said in a statement (that really should have been two separate sentences for clarity's sake).

StudioNow will also continue to develop its existing business of selling online video creation and distribution platforms for commercial companies.

The acquisition of StudioNow closed on January 22 and valued at $36.5m in cash and stock, with a portion of the legal tender paid out over "multiple years."

In December, AOL announced plans to lay off about 1,400 employees after it failed to reach its goal of convincing 2,500 staff to take voluntary redundancy. Only about 1,100 workers took the voluntary redundancy plan, leaving AOL with the task of passing out pink slips to the rest.

No word as to the fate of StudioNow's crew. ®

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