AOL’s prized content assets, including The Huffington Post and TechCrunch, may be spun off as part of the companys $4.4bn acquisition by US telecoms giant Verizon, according to reports.
The deal has led to rumours that AOL is negotiating the possible sale of Huffington Post with interested parties including German media titan Axel Springer, which is keen to expand its presence in North America.
AOL’s Tim Armstrong has denied that Huffington Post will be sold in an interview with the title, which it bought for $315m in 2011. Yet many commentators agree the deal is motivated by Verizons desire to spur on the development of the video advertising space, and AOL fast-growing presence in this area is the principal attraction.
AOL has previously insisted it believes it is optimal to possess both a content and technology offering. In Q1, its Platforms business grew 21% year-on-year, but posted a $10m loss.
Huffington Post has been busy expanding globally, recently launching platforms in India and Australia, with China and Mexico next on its hitlist.
News of the acquisition broke on Tuesday (12 May), just moments before Huffington Post chief executive Jimmy Maymann joined counterparts from The Guardian, Reddit, Bloomberg and Time Inc at this weeks Festival of Media Global 2015 in Rome for a discussion about the future of publishing.
It comes only weeks after AOL unified its programmatic trading propositions under a single banner, ONE by AOL, which it claims offers the first open, cross-screen platform incorporating media from web to TV.