The media universe awoke this morning to the news that AOL (our company) CEO Tim Armstrong has worked out a deal to acquire The Huffington Post for $315 million.
Arianna Huffington, The Huffington Post's co-founder and driving force, will enter the newly formed Huffington Post Media Group as editor-in-chief, overseeing content on AOL properties ranging from recent AOL acquisition TechCrunch to Moviefone and local journalism start-up Patch.
Surge Desk rounds up a few instant reactions to the big deal.
All Things Digital's Peter Kafka is a little skeptical:
"There's lots of Web M&A that doesn't make much sense. But after you get past the 'OMG!!!!!' novelty of AOL's $315 million Huffington Post buy, this one has a straightforward logic to it: Old, big, slow company buys new, small fast company, hopes some of the zippy mojo rubs off."ZDNet's Sam Diaz anticipates the TechCrunch-HuffPo grudge match.
"What I wouldn't do to be a fly on the wall at that first AOL editorial meeting where TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington goes head-to-head with his new boss, Arianna Huffington."Venture Beat's Matthew Lynley asks "who's next?":
"AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, known as a dealmaker, hardly seems like he's stopping anytime soon. The only thing that might slow him down: a lack of new targets. There aren't many broad-topic media companies left which would make a visible difference in AOL's traffic and revenue."Business Insider's Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry also thinks there's more where that came from:
"What's interesting here is an underreported fact of AOL's last earnings: AOL finished 2010 with $720 million in cash, most of it from asset sales ... Of the $315 million AOL is spending on Huffington Post, $300 million is in cash. In other words, AOL now has enough cash left over to buy another company the size of Huffington Post, AND four companies the size of TechCrunch. And that's not counting stock and debt AOL can also conceivably use for acquisitions. Just something to think about."The Daily Beast's Randall Lane also noticed a lot of cash:
"The overnight media news blockbuster -- AOL buying The Huffington Post for $315 million -- makes a statement on several levels. It's a statement from AOL that its future lies in creating media and selling advertising against it -- this deal removes any confusion about that. It's a statement from The Huffington Post that being a standalone media product, no matter how mighty, can be a lonely place. But to me, the most emphatic message was delivered by the currency involved in the transaction: cold, hard cash."Follow Surge Desk on Twitter.