June 11, 2009

AOL Purchases Two Smaller Companies

AOL has purchased two small start-up companies that focus on local online media, known as Patch Media Corp and Going Inc.

Tim Armstrong, AOL's new chief executive, invested early in Patch Media, which started in 2007 and focuses on news and information through a series of local community sites or "patches."  Armstrong wrote a memo to staff saying that he would forego any profit on his investment.

The other company, Going Inc., was founded in 2006 and offers young adults information on events and happenings in 30 U.S. cities.

Armstrong said that he plans to make local search "a core area of focus and investment" for AOL, citing estimates that show local search growing quicker than overall search.

AOL did not release financial details on either of the deals in Thursday's announcement. 

The company has been striving to keep pace with the broader Web search business, which is a market dominated by Google Inc.  AOL's share of the U.S. search market has dropped to 4 percent from 12 percent in the last three years.

AOL is expected to become its own independent company around the end of this year, but Time Warner has yet to announce a date or method for the separation of AOL.


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