Very few people could post about TechCrunch sale possibilities (especially during a TechCrunch conference) and get me to pay attention. Om Malik is one. According to Om, writing with plenty of qualifiers, Michael Arrington and company are deep in discussions to sell TechCrunch to AOL (NYSE: AOL) . The possible fairy-tale ending: AOL CEO Tim Armstrong announcing a deal at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco tomorrow.
Armstrong wouldn’t be the first AOL CEO to look at acquiring the tech blog empire. According to one source, Jon Miller, who acquired Weblogs Inc./Blogsmith from Jason Calacanis and Brian Alvey, explored the possibility, an effort that carried over or was picked up again by Randy Falco. I was told it went up to $30 million. (SAI is reporting that $30 million would have been enough to do the trick when Armstrong first started to look but AOL was offering less.) TechCrunch’s ad page claims 9.2 million uniques and 30 million page views; it hasn’t updated the *Google* Analytics snapshot since January.
In some respects, buying TechCrunch runs counter to the grow-it-yourself strategy behind Seed and pre-spin acquisition Patch. But it could fit in with Armstrong’s notion of a federation of branded AOL sites and non-AOL brand sites like Engadget or the new Marlo Thomas venture. Yes, time for a double take — Arrington, the Jonas Brothers and Marlo Thomas all under the same corporate umbrella. (TC has gone heavily into video of late; could that fit in with AOL Finance a la Yahoo’s TechTicker?)
The multi-million questions (beyond is this really happening): How long would Arrington stay? And how long could Arrington be Arrington at publicly held AOL?
Meanwhile, Robert Scoble says TC CEO Heather Harde told him she couldn’t comment. No response from AOL to us yet.
Update: Peter Kafka says Armstrong, showing an interest in the events business, previously reached out to Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg but AllThingsD will stay with Dow Jones.
More as we know it.