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Infrastructure // PC & Servers

AOL To Buy TechCrunch

The acquisition adds Michael Arrington's influential tech-focused blog network to AOL's growing stable of professionally created content sources.

AOL announced Tuesday plans to acquire influential Silicon Valley blog TechCrunch and its network of websites dedicated to technology news and analysis.

The web portal, which has been building out its network of professionally created news, sports and entertainment content for some time, made the announcement Tuesday at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco. Financial details were not disclosed.

AOL said TechCrunch, founded in 2005 by former lawyer-turned-blogger Michael Arrington, would become part of the portal's technology network, while also retaining its editorial independence and its headquarters in San Francisco. TechCruch's other blogs include MobileCrunch, CrunchGear, TechCrunchIT, GreenTech, TechCrunchTV and CrunchBase.

Heather Harde, chief executive of TechCrunch, said the company was "delighted about becoming part of the AOL family. This represents a compelling opportunity to extend the TechCrunch brand while complementing the great work of (AOL) sites like Engadget and Switched," Harde said in a statement. "Our contributors, and our audiences, can look to the future with excitement about what we can build when we have the significant resources of AOL behind us."

Arrington, who is co-editor of TechCrunch, said that he looked forward "to working with everyone at AOL as we build on our reputation for independent tech journalism."

Besides blogs, TechCrunch also hosts conferences and events, including the Disrupt series, the Crunchies tech awards and a variety of "meet-ups" worldwide that bring together industry innovators, entrepreneurs and financing sources to exchange ideas.

TechCrunch adds to AOL's growing list of tech-oriented web properties, which include web magazine Engadget, Switched, the unofficial Apple blog TUAW and the DownloadSquad.

AOL announced the deal the same day it said it had acquired 5min Media, an online video distribution company. Financial terms were not disclosed. Headquartered in New York, 5min Media delivers mostly short how-to and do-it-yourself videos to sites. The videos contain advertising.

The purchase expands AOL's ability to distribute its own video content. 5min Media, founded in 2006, has a library of more than 200,000 videos from more than 1,000 media companies and independent video producers. The company claims to have a network of 800 partner sites that reach more than 20 million viewers.

"With 5min Media we'll be able to add more video inventory to our pages," Tim Armstrong, chairman and chief executive of AOL, said in a statement.

The 5min Media deal complements AOL's purchase in January of StudioNow, an online platform for creating and distributing video content. AOL paid $36.5 million in cash and stock.

AOL's overall strategy is to increase its distribution of professional writing, pictures and video on its 80 branded and niche content sites. The company, which was spun off by Time Warner, believes that professionally created content can attract as many viewers and advertisers than licensed programming from TV and Hollywood studios. Yahoo and IAC/InteractiveCorp are following similar strategies.


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