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AOL Acquires the Huffington Post for $315 Million, Our Prediction for the Next Acquisition

AOL’s on quite the blog acquiring spree lately. Following the reported $25-40 million acquisition of the TechCrunch network, AOL’s next acquisition is of the extremely popular site the Huffington Post. {NY Times}

Wow. There’s an announcement that takes the wind out of Super Bowl ad sails.

AOL (we’re back to all caps now, apparently) will pay $300 million in cash for the site, with the remaining $15 million paid in stock. Considering AOL’s current market cap is $2.34 billion, that represents almost 13% of the companies total value meaning that AOL is betting big on the Huffington Post. Let’s have a quick look at what everyone’s getting in this deal:

Under the deal, all of AOL’s content properties will now fall under a newly created Huffington Post Media Group, which Arianna Huffington will lead as president and editor in chief. That includes TechCrunch and Engadget (who’ve been butting editorial heads lately) and Stylelist among others.

More important, it really emphasizes AOL CEO Tim Armstrong’s goal of making AOL a content driven media business that’s less dependent on revenue from dial-up customers. In a memo to AOL employees, Armstrong notes:

“The Huffington Post is core to our strategy and our 80:80:80 focus – 80% of domestic spending is done by women, 80% of commerce happens locally and 80% of considered purchases are driven by influencers. The influencer part of the strategy is important and will be potent.”

If that’s true, we’ll take this opportunity to double down on our previous bets for the next networks likely to be attractive acquistion targets: Mashable, Sugar, Inc. and Gawker Media. Out of those 3, Sugar, Inc. seems to be wearing the biggest bullseye. The company is almost all women’s media (check), they recently acquired local deals site FreshGuide (check) and visual shopping search engine ShopStyle not only does well on its own, but also powers product searches and editorials on sites like Style.com, that are popular with influential people.

Considering that both the TechCrunch and Huffington Post deals were rumored to have happened within a matter of months (the latter being finalized when Huffington and Armstrong were in Dallas for the Super Bowl), it may just be a matter of the right introduction.






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