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Last updated at 17:17 GMT, Monday, 07 February 2011

AOL to buy Huffington Post

Summary

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.

Reporter:
Maddy Savage

AOL website showing a story about its takeover of the Huffington Post

The Huffington Post has around 25 million readers each month

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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

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Vocabulary

start-up company

newly created business

columnist

journalist who writes regular articles, usually on a particular topic

high-powered

influential or famous

got momentum

has the ability to keep growing and developing

risky bet

gamble that could be dangerous

sliding

here, shrinking or reducing significantly

flock

hurry or rush to all at the same time

acquisition

purchase

face competition

have to deal with or experience rivalry

overtaken

here, outdone or surpassed in size

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