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AOL buys Huffington Post

1 + 1 = 11 ... err, yes ...

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AOL is paying £190m for the Huffington Post – the ragbag collection of once Democrat-leaning blogs founded in 2005.

The announcement – modestly titled "A Brand New Media Universe", with the strap line "A Merger of Visions" – was signed at the SuperBowl yesterday.

The deal makes HuffPo boss Arianna Huffington president and editor in chief of AOL's online properties – including TechCrunch and Engadget.

Huffington used a blog post to describe the deal as "1+1=11". She said: "this moment will be for HuffPost like stepping off a fast-moving train and onto a supersonic jet." There's more of Huffington's thoughts on the AOL buy here.

The deal gives the combined companies an audience of 117 million visitors a month in the US and 270 million around the world, using numbers from ComScore.

AOL will pay $315m, $300m of that in cash. The collection of blogs was founded in 2005 by Huffington and Kenneth Lerer. It started life as a Democrat-leaning collection of blogs, aimed to counter the likes of the Drudge Report, before becoming more of a celebrity news hub.

The Huffington Post contributes 25 million monthly visitors.

AOL has been trying to reinvent itself as more than a rag bag collection of web properties and the ashes of an ISP business since its disastrous merger with Time Warner.

The $186bn mega-merger has never really shown any benefit to anyone. With this deal AOL's boss Tim Armstrong will hope to show the world that his company has a real idea of what it wants to be.

The two sides aim to close the deal towards the end of the first quarter or the start of the second. HuffPo management and investors have already approved it. ®

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