7 February 2011
US internet firm AOL has agreed to merge with the Huffington Post online newspaper for $315 million. Co-founder Arianna Huffington will stay on as editor and she will also be in charge of content for AOL's existing websites.
Click to hear the report:
If you haven't heard of the Huffington Post, here's what you need to know. It launched six years ago as a small start-up company and now ranks as one of the top ten current events and global news sites in America. The woman behind it is Arianna Huffington, a Greek-American columnist with a long list of high-powered friends and celebrity contacts. Those connections began blogging on the website. Soon the Huffington Post became a pioneer at encouraging both established and new writers to post their thoughts online for free.
With around 25 million monthly visitors it's certainly got momentum. But business analysts say AOL's 300 million dollar deal to buy the site could be a risky bet on the future of online content. AOL's fortunes have been sliding over the past decade as its dial-up customers flock to broadband internet services.
The company will be counting on its latest acquisition to secure its future as a major internet brand. It will face competition from other emerging online newspapers, such as Rupert Murdoch's The Daily, which launched last week, and is designed to be read on Apple's portable iPad computers.
Similar purchases by AOL and Rupert Murdoch haven't always been a success. They believed that the websites Bebo and MySpace represented the future of social networking. Both were rapidly overtaken by Facebook.
Maddy Savage, BBC News
Click to hear the vocabulary:
- start-up company
newly created business
journalist who writes regular articles, usually on a particular topic
influential or famous
- got momentum
has the ability to keep growing and developing
- risky bet
gamble that could be dangerous
here, shrinking or reducing significantly
hurry or rush to all at the same time
- face competition
have to deal with or experience rivalry
here, outdone or surpassed in size