AOL has bought TechCrunch for a reported amount of $40 million, as the struggling Internet giant looks to boost its audience and ad revenue with one of the most influential blogs in the technology industry.
AOL Chief Executive Tim Armstrong joined TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington onstage Tuesday to make the announcement at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco.
Arrington, 40, has become one of the best-known journalists in the technology field, setting up TechCrunch in 2005 to chronicle the rise and fall of young technology companies.
At the conference, Arrington said San Francisco-based TechCrunch would operate as a subsidiary and retain its editorial direction. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed but a person familiar with it said the all-cash deal was worth $30 million plus incentives.
AOL tried to buy TechCrunch two years ago, but they could not agree on price. The talks resumed in May with Armstrong, a former Google executive, backstage at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York, and the negotiations intensified this month, Arrington said.
AOL’s Armstrong, who is hiring hundreds of writers to create original news content and snapping up content companies to capture more users and advertisers, said the TechCrunch purchase would give AOL “a much larger tech presence.”
AOL already operates Engadget, a TechCrunch competitor, which it bought in 2005. Buying TechCrunch represented Armstrong’s most aggressive move yet to rebuild AOL around online content.
The move could give AOL higher rates for advertisers trying to reach a desirable demographic. TechCrunch says it reaches 9.2 million people a month, generating 30 million page views.
Many of those readers are venture capitalists, angel investors, technology executives and other high-net-worth individuals. TechCrunch also runs a conference business.
Since Armstrong took over as CEO in April 2009, AOL has spun off from Time Warner and made a number of media-based acquisitions, including Patch Media and Going.
Also Tuesday, AOL said it had acquired Thing Labs Inc., which makes Brizzly social software, and 5Min Media, a video content syndication company.
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