September 29, 2010

AOL To Acquire Popular TechCrunch Blog

AOL Inc. said on Tuesday that it had agreed to acquire TechCrunch, a popular Silicon Valley technology blog, as the company works to remake itself as a content powerhouse.

Although financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, Reuters cited a source familiar with the matter as saying the deal was worth about $30 million.

AOL said TechCrunch would remain in San Francisco with editorial independence as a wholly owned AOL unit, and that the blog's associated properties and conferences would become part of the AOL Technology Network.

TechCrunch properties include TechCrunch, MobileCrunch, CrunchGear, TechCrunchIT, GreenTech, TechCrunchTV and CrunchBase.

AOL already owns Engadget, a popular tech news Web site.

AOL chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong said TechCrunch's "reputation for top-class journalism precisely matches AOL's commitment to delivering the expert content critical to this audience."

Michael Arrington, founder and editor of TechCrunch, said he looks forward to "working with everyone at AOL as we build on our reputation for independent tech journalism."

Earlier Tuesday, AOL announced it had acquired 5min Media, a Web video syndication firm, in a deal the tech blog MediaMemo said was worth between $50 million and $65 million.

Armstrong said the purchase would "better position AOL to capture the growing video opportunity on the Web."

"AOL is building a video ecosystem for the next decade," he added.

"With 5min Media we'll be able to add more video inventory to our pages."

Ran Harnevo, co-founder and CEO of 5min Media, said the complementary video capabilities of the two companies "make us a compelling fit and an attractive combination for content creators and publishers."

Founded in 2006, 5min Media has more than 200,000 videos from more than 1,000 content providers and professional independent video producers.  In August, the company had more than 20 million unique viewers and more than 130 million video streams in the U.S., according to data from online tracking firm comScore.

AOL merged with Time Warner in 2001 in what is widely seen as one of the most calamitous mergers in history.  Last December, Time Warner spun off AOL into an independent company.

Armstrong has enacted a number of hard-hitting cost reduction measures since taking the reins of AOL last year, and has said he plans to redirect the company towards "content, ads and communications."


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