If you’ve been on the internet today, you probably know that Verizon is acquiring AOL, pending regulatory approval and closing conditions. While the announcement made no claims that AOL’s content properties would be spun off, reports at Re/code have suggested otherwise.
As we referenced in an earlier article on the acquisition, Re/Code’s Peter Kafka suggested Verizon could decide to spin out AOL’s content operations with a third partner, “perhaps German publisher Axel Springer”.
Re/Code’s Kara Swisher has since written:
According to numerous sources, while it has been negotiating its deal to sell to Verizon, AOL has also been in advanced discussions with a number of parties to spin off its flagship Huffington Post content unit.
The talks have been most serious with Axel Springer, the German media conglomerate, but a number of private equity firms have also expressed interest in the high-profile property. Sources said the Huffington Post has been valued at above $1 billion in this scenario, which would either be a complete sale or, more likely, structured as a joint venture.
AOL has been sending around a statement in response to such reports (via Variety): “AOL owns a portfolio of premium, global content brands including The Huffington Post, TechCrunch and Endgadget, among others, and all of them will continue to be part of our business as we go forward.”
Swisher says this contradicts what “several top AOL sources” told her this morning. As Kafka noted in his article, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong also said in the past that there was no truth to reports of a potential acquisition by Verizon.
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