WASHINGTON – US Internet provider AOL will buy The Huffington Post, a rapidly growing news website with nearly 25 million monthly visitors, for $315 million, the company announced Monday.
Approximately $300 million will be paid in cash, it said.
The Huffington Post is privately owned, but the proposed transaction is subject to government approval.
The boards of directors of each company and shareholders of The Huffington Post have approved the transaction, expected to close in the late first- or early second-quarter of 2011, the announcement said.
Arianna Huffington, The Huffington Post’s co-founder and editor-in-chief, will be named president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group, which will integrate all Huffington Post and AOL content.
That includes Engadget, TechCrunch, Moviefone, MapQuest, Black Voices, PopEater, AOL Music, AOL Latino, AutoBlog, Patch, StyleList, and other sites.
“The acquisition of The Huffington Post will create a next-generation American media company with global reach that combines content, community, and social experiences for consumers,” said Tim Armstrong, chairman and CEO of AOL.
“Together, our companies will embrace the digital future and become a digital destination that delivers unmatched experiences for both consumers and advertisers.”
The new media group will have a combined base of 117 million visitors a month in the United States and 270 million around the world, officials estimate.
It will deliver news, analysis and entertainment products produced by thousands of writers, and videographers around the globe.
Those who have already blogged on The Huffington Post include President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and many other politicians and celebrities.
Huffington said her website will continue after the acquisition “on the same path” it has been for the last six years, although now much faster.
“This is truly a merger of visions and a perfect fit for us,” she added.
Huffington first became known as a Greek-American author of romance novels and syndicated columnist.
She was married to oil millionaire Michael Huffington, a close Republican friend of the Bush family, who represented California in US House of Representatives in the 1990s and unsuccessfully ran for the US Senate in 1994.
The couple divorced in 1997, and in 1998 Michael Huffington revealed that he was bisexual.
Following her diverse, Huffington who used to campaign for her husband as a staunch religious conservative, switched to liberalism.
She launched The Huffington Post in 2005 as an alternative to conservative news websites like the Drudge Report.