Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

AOL buys TechCrunch

By Stacy Cowley, tech editor


SAN FRANCISCO (CNNMoney.com) -- TechCrunch said Tuesday it has agreed to be acquired by AOL, a deal that came together quickly after rumors of the negotiations leaked.

"This wasn't supposed to happen today -- this was supposed to happen later," TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington said from the stage at TechCrunch's Disrupt conference. "So we had to rush through this."

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. AOL CEO Tim Armstrong joined Arrington onstage to sign the acquisition papers in front of the conference audience. Arrington polled the crowd on whether or not he should sign. "Absolutely not!" beat "yay" by about a 60/40 split.

Arrington signed anyway.

TechCrunch, which launched in 2005 and quickly became one of Silicon Valley's most influential news outlets, operates a network of tech-focused blogs. Audience traffic tracker Compete.com estimates the TechCrunch network generates more than 2 million visitors each month.

AOL (AOL) already has a foot in the tech blog world with Engadget, the popular hardware enthusiast site it picked up in its 2005 purchase of blog network Weblogs Inc.

While many Weblogs sites folded in the wake of that deal, the survivors include some high-profile successes like TVSquad, Autoblog and The Unofficial Apple Weblog.

These blogs help anchor a fast-growing AOL blog network whose marquee sites include DailyFinance, WalletPop, Luxist and SlashFood. (DailyFinance and WalletPop are CNNMoney.com partners.)

AOL's highest profile -- and most expensive -- initiative is Patch, a hyperlocal blog network that currently has more than 100 sites chronicling communities across the U.S. AOL says it is investing $50 million to rapidly expand Patch, which aims to cover 500 places by early 2011.

Like Yahoo, AOL is trying to develop a vast content reservoir while walking the fine line between mass and class. Its Seed system for buying and distributing content mimics the model eHow creator Demand Media popularized: Pay freelancers rock-bottom rates to churn out a flood of dashed-off content optimized to rank highly in search engines. Demand filed for an IPO last month.

But AOL and Yahoo (YHOO, Fortune 500) -- which in May acquired Demand rival Associated Content -- have recently made moves aimed at boosting their content quality. Each has poached star journalists from outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, BusinessWeek and Politico to build sites focused on breaking news and investigative reporting. To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,651.26 -99.65 -0.56%
Nasdaq 4,725.64 -37.58 -0.79%
S&P 500 2,051.12 -12.25 -0.59%
Treasuries 1.78 -0.02 -0.89%
Data as of 11:53pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 14.13 -0.23 -1.60%
Freeport-McMoRan Inc... 11.80 -0.21 -1.75%
Apple Inc 94.19 -0.42 -0.44%
Micron Technology In... 10.00 -0.36 -3.47%
General Electric Co 30.07 -0.56 -1.83%
Data as of 4:01pm ET
Sponsors

Sections

Tesla CEO Elon Musk had said previously that the automaker would become "cash-flow positive" this year. But in a letter to shareholders Wednesday, Musk signaled that won't be the case after all. More

The jobs market is near full employment with 14 million jobs added since early 2010. Gas prices are cheap. Home prices are rising. The stock market is near record highs. So why does everyone think the economy stinks? More

Oakland-based tech startup Clef hosts dinners for the local community in a bid to resist gentrification and unite all types of industries that make up the city. More

Visa says new software will allow consumers to check out with chip cards as fast as swiping a card with magnetic strip. More