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Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Huffington Post, USA, Arianna Huffington listens during a session at the World Economic Forum in Davos Virginia Mayo/AP/Press Association Images

AOL buys Huffington Post for $315 million

Just six years after the launch of her site, Arianna Huffington says she would have been “hard-pressed to imagine this moment”.

THE HUFFINGTON POST – which was launched as a liberal blog in 2005 with a $1 million investment – is being acquired by AOL for $315 million, it was announced yesterday.

Under the newly created Huffington Post Media Group, the HuffPo’s founder Arianna Huffington, will take control of all of AOL’s editorial content. She will be responsible for integrating content between the two companies in news, technology, women, local, multicultural and entertainment and other sections of the site, a statement issued by the two companies said.

The statement added:

The combination of AOL’s infrastructure and scale with The Huffington Post’s pioneering approach to news and innovative community building among a broad and sophisticated audience will mark a seminal moment in the evolution of digital journalism and online engagement.

The deal – over $300 million of which will be paid in cash, according to the Wall Street Journal – has the potential to create an enterprise that could reach an audience of more than 100 million in the United States each month, the two companies hope.

For the Huffington Post, it represents an opportunity to reach much wider audiences. For AOL, it will allow them to target advertising at millions of HuffPo readers.

Arianna Huffington has revealed how she and Tim Armstrong met at a media conference in November and discovered “we were practically finishing each other’s sentences.” Talks on the acquisition began last month, and the deal was signed at the SuperBowl on Sunday.

This isn’t AOL’s first such acquisition: last year, it acquired the technology news blog TechCrunch for $25 million.

The Huffington Post began life almost exclusively aggregating content – linking to and crediting stories published elsewhere – but now produces a significant proportion of original content.

It reached 25 million unique visitors in December, according to comScore.

Read Arianna Huffington on the “merger of visions” >

See also: AOL ceo Tim Armstrong’s email to AOLers about the HuffPo dealA brief history of the Huffington Post in the Los Angeles Times >

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