NEW YORK – Online company AOL Inc. is buying highly trafficked website Huffington Post in a $315-million deal that represents a big bet on the future of online news.
The acquisition, which will put Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington in charge of all AOL content, brings AOL an additional 25 million unique visitors a day.
That could help AOL begin to turn around its display advertising business, which has struggled to grow as the company tries to turn itself into a content provider and moves further away from its roots providing dial-up Internet.
The deal “will create a next-generation American media company with global reach that combines content, community, and social experiences for consumers,” AOL CEO Tim Armstrong said in a statement announcing the deal early today.
Founded in 2005, Huffington Post is owned by Arianna Huffington, Kenneth Lerer and a group of investors. AOL will pay $300 million of the purchase price in cash.
Arianna Huffington will be named president and editor in chief of The Huffington Post Media Group, which will include all Huffington Post and AOL content, including Engadget, TechCrunch, MapQuest, Patch and more.
Since laying off a large number of staff last year, AOL has continued reorganizing its operations. The company, which separated from Time Warner in 2009, has acquired new businesses, launched and relaunched websites, and rolled out a new Web advertising system.