Did you hear that AOL paid $315,000,000.00 for the Huffington Post? Seriously, it’s true.
The two companies completed the sale Sunday evening and announced the deal just after midnight on Monday. AOL will pay $315 million, $300 million of it in cash and the rest in stock. It will be the company’s largest acquisition since it was separated from Time Warner in 2009.
The deal will allow AOL to greatly expand its news gathering and original content creation, areas that its chief executive, Tim Armstrong, views as vital to reversing a decade-long decline.
Arianna Huffington, the cable talk show pundit, author and doyenne of the political left, will take control of all of AOL’s editorial content as president and editor in chief of a newly created Huffington Post Media Group. The arrangement will give her oversight not only of AOL’s national, local and financial news operations, but also of the company’s other media enterprises like MapQuest and Moviefone.
They say that giving so much control to Arianna Huffington may cause AOL to lose it’s nonpartisan image. Ya think?
OK, now figure about $75,000 per paid staffer (salary+benefits), and your annual payroll is somewhere north of $5 million.
So the price paid by AOL is equal to more than 50 years of salaries at HuffPo? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?
Next question: How many of HuffPo’s 6,000 bloggers (???) are going to continue writing for free at a site that just collected a $315 million buyout?
Stephen Green wonders where AOL came up with $315 million. Good question. And Da TechGuy notes that AOL also bought HuffPo’s crazy commentators. That’s certainly not going to help AOL’s nonpartisan image.
Update: Kyle Ann Shiver details Huffington’s interesting (to say the least) past, and her chummy relationship with George Soros.
Update 2: The Camp of the Saints linked – thanks!