143 Comments

Summary:

AOL, the New York-based company is on the verge of acquiring TechCrunch, the online blogging network started by former attorney, Michael Arrington. AOL CEO Tim Armstrong is likely to make an appearance at Disrupt, and that is when the deal is likely to be announced.

Michael Arrington by Joi Ito via Flickr, Creative Commons

AOL, the New York-based online media company, is on the verge of acquiring TechCrunch, the online blogging network started by former attorney, Michael Arrington. The deal is at a sensitive stage and might fall apart yet, but I don’t think so. Sources familiar with both entities says that the announcement is likely to come onstage at Disrupt, TechCrunch’s flagship conference currently underway in San Francisco.

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong is likely to make an appearance at the conference, and perhaps that’s when the announcement is likely to be made. Michael Arrington was unreachable for comment, and AOL has not returned my calls. I still don’t know the terms of the deal, and will update the post accordingly.

AOL in the past had acquired Weblogs Inc., the blogging company behind popular sites such as Engadget. Those blogs have helped AOL compensate for steep loss of traffic. The service has been in the market to buy a technology blog, and is rumored to have been linked with other technology blogs.

On a more personal note, I think this is great news for Mike and his crew. I remember Mike starting out by writing long reviews of web startups in 2005. We often talked about the world of technology and discussed where it was all headed. In the years that have passed, he turned his blog into a company and brought in Heather Harde to run his operation. The company has launched series of events, with TechCrunch SF being the latest. I want to congratulate Mike and his crew on their success.

Related research from GigaOM Pro (subscription req’d):

Photo of Michael Arrington by Joi Ito via Flickr under Creative Commons.

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  1. Wow! Why was Yahoo not in the race to acquire TechCrunch?

    1. Not even Yahoo wants ‘em.

  2. If true, this will be the death of TC

    1. Why do you say that?

      1. Engadget has been doing great under AOL for the past 5 years.

      2. Because AOL has the reverse Midas Touch.

      3. I would think because being bought by AOL is about as timely as being bought by the East India Company. I hope Arrington gets a lot of cash for his retirement (or next startup), but being owned by AOL puts a neon sign reading “Owned by obsolete old fogies” on the place.

        Seriously… this sounds like Mike is taking a cash payment to ride off into the sunset, safe in the knowledge AOL won’t have a clue on how to manage the TC brand.

      4. The only way this makes sense to me is if TC wanted to reach a more mainstream audience. Unfortunately that would’ve worked a lot better back when AOL was still part of Time Warner. So I’m not sure where AOL is planning to go with this. Granted, their strength is the portfolio of online content they own (http://corp.aol.com/products-services/content), but is there a synergy there I’m missing? Is AOL going to bring a bigger audience to the table? … better advertising revenue? I suppose it’s possible.

        It just seems an odd union. It’s not like AOL is at the center of the tech universe. Headquarters on the “other” coast, dwindling email and subscriber offerings, etc.

      5. He probably think that Michael Arrington will leave TC.

      6. It will be the death of TC because Mike won’t want to work for AOL. Without him TC is nothing.

    2. Why would you say that? AOL owns a lot of great web properties that haven’t died off, most notably the old Weblogs Inc network (Engadget, Joystiq, Autoblog, TUAW, etc)

    3. I agree as well.

      @Om – From my subjective view, I don’t like being a part of sites/blogs that are owned by large media conglomerates. I don’t even like reading those sites generally because you never really know if the stories are biased or have some arterial motive. Yes, you could argue that is the case with any site, but my take is that happens a lot more on the large AOL/Yahoo!/etc. owned sites. People want to part of a community/blog/etc. that isn’t a part of some large corporate Walmart style empire. They want something that is unique…their own.

      1. I agree with you, @Andrew

      2. Good point and I am betting AOL will try and keep that intact. Or at least one hopes they would.

      3. Arterial motive. What are you trying to say there? ;-)

      4. i too agree…alos it wil create confusion which site to choose…be it crunchgear or engadget,mobilecrunch or engadget mobile…

  3. Good deal for Mike A. Good news for Heather Harde, too… now she has a career path. Saul Hansell should make guest appearances on TechCrunch TV… he could be like the Tosh.0 guy.

  4. Marshall Kirkpatrick Monday, September 27, 2010

    Ok, ok – turning the live stream back on! ;) Wow.

    1. Well, I guess interruption was good for a few minutes!

  5. Is AOL going to buy TechCrunch? What is the status of these discussions?…

    Om Malik just broke this story — http://gigaom.com/2010/09/27/aol-close-to-buying-techcrunch/….

  6. Is AOL acquiring TechCrunch? How much are they paying for it?…

    See: http://gigaom.com/2010/09/27/aol-close-to-buying-techcrunch/…

  7. Is AOL acquiring TechCrunch? How much are they paying for it? – Quora Monday, September 27, 2010

    [...] IPO and M&A Rumors Is AOL acquiring TechCrunch? How much are they paying for it?See: http://gigaom.com/2010/09/27/aol…Cannot add comment at this time.  BIU     @ @ ReferenceEdit [...]

  8. Oh this is great! Everything that AOL touches turns to gold! Oh wait, they fail at business…

  9. HOT RUMOR: AOL to buy TechCrunch – in late stages Monday, September 27, 2010

    [...] GigaOM and must be placed strongly in the rumor column but Om Malik, who I have a great respect for, is reporting that while still at a delicate stage the deal that would see AOL acquire TechCrunch could see an announcement at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference happening in San Francisco right [...]

  10. Wow! Congrats to Arrington and team. Hope it’s a huge sum… There’s no denying TechCrunch is a huge media force. This is a very smart move for AOL.

    1. Trying to find out the price :-D

      1. I hope it won’t be an “undisclosed” amount… We really want to know the price :D

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