AOL to acquire the Huffington Post

AOL has agreed to buy the Huffington Post website for $315m (£199m), expanding the business in a bid to boost diminishing ad revenues.

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The acquisition will see Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington leading the newly-formed Huffington Post Media Group, integrating all AOL’s network of editorial and video sites, reaching an estimated combined audience of 270 million.

Following the close of the transaction, AOL plans to accelerate its editorial strategy to deliver “a scaled and differentiated” variety of news, analysis and entertainment.

The deal is expected to close in March or April this year.

Chairman and CEO of AOL Tim Armstrong says: “The acquisition of the Huffington Post will create a next-generation American media company with global reach that combines content, community and social experiences for consumers.

“Together, our companies will embrace the digital future and become a digital destination that delivers unmatched experiences for both consumers and advertisers.”

AOL separated from Time Warner in 2009 and has subsequently acquired new businesses, such as the Tech Crunch blog, and launched a new advertising system. AOL expects the purchase to boost its waning advertising revenues.

Fourth-quarter results suggest the company is struggling to improve ad sales. It has just a 5.3% market share of the US display advertising revenue, according to eMarketer.

The Huffington Post, a news and analysis website, was founded in 2005 and reached almost 25 million unique monthly visitors to its site in December, according to comScore.

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