You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

AOL Claims No Plans to Sell Huffington Post, Other Content Units

With AOL getting snapped up by telco giant Verizon Communications for $4.4 billion, the Internet-media company is reportedly looking to jettison the Huffington Post — and potentially other assets that don’t align with Verizon’s corporate strategy. But AOL denies it has any plans to sell any of its content units.

AOL has been in discussions to spin off Huffington Post, the news-aggregation and blog site it acquired in 2011 for $315 million, according to a Re/code report citing anonymous sources. HuffPo has been valued at more than $1 billion; the negotiations have been “most serious” with German media conglom Axel Springer, per the report.

Asked for comment, AOL issued a statement claiming it is keeping all of its content divisions.

“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,” AOL rep Caroline Campbell said in an emailed statement.

However, industry analysts say, it seems likely that Verizon would want to get rid of certain AOL properties that would conflict with the activities of the U.S.’ largest wireless carrier.

“Can you really see Verizon being the publisher of the Huffington Post?” Gartner principal research analyst Bill Menezes said. “I don’t think Verizon wants to be a digital publisher. They want to be a conduit – they want to create value that takes customers away from AT&T or Comcast.”

Huffington Post’s coverage on such issues as network neutrality and wireless data caps run counter to Verizon’s positions, Menezes said, along with other sites like TechCrunch and Engadget. Those news sites publish “stuff that is not necessarily the point of view Verizon wants to put across.”

Verizon last fall launched its own tech-news site, Sugarstring.com, which forbade topics such as net neutrality and government surveillance. It shut it down in December, calling the site a “pilot project.”

Others also don’t see Verizon hanging on to certain non-strategic content brands. “Verizon is clearly not a media company, so there are no new scale advantages by combining AOL content with existing properties,” VideoNuze’s Will Richmond wrote in a blog post. “The more likely result is a sale of AOL’s content portfolio to a large media company that can gain further scale.” And that, he suggested, would help the telco recoup some of its $4.4 billion investment in AOL.

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, in a memo to employees, wrote that the Verizon deal “will not change our strategy – it will expand it greatly.”

“The deal will give our content businesses more distribution and it will give our advertisers more distribution and mobile-first features,” Armstrong wrote.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • John Carmack John Carmack, Chief Technical

    Oculus CTO John Carmack to Step Down

    One of the driving forces behind Facebook’s virtual reality efforts is leaving his post: Oculus CTO John Carmack announced Wednesday afternoon that he was transitioning to a “consulting CTO” role this week, and devote most of his time to new challenges outside of the company. “I will still have a voice in the development work, [...]

  • Rachel Brill - BR Studio -

    Bleacher Report Taps Epix's Rachel Brill to Head B/R Studio

    Rachel Brill is departing Epix to join WarnerMedia’s Bleacher Report as senior VP and general manager of B/R Studio, the digital sports division’s recently formed original programming arm. As head of B/R Studio, Brill is tasked with building a slate of mid- and long-form content aimed at Bleacher Report’s millennial and Gen Z-skewing audience. She [...]

  • Variety Tastemaker honoree Ayesha Curry

    Ayesha Curry's Impact Ranges From Family to Food to Philanthropy

    Ayesha Curry — wife, mother, restaurateur, author, executive producer and CoverGirl — literally does it all. Receiving Variety’s Inaugural Tastemaker award at the 2019 Napa Valley Film Festival, the entrepreneur is being recognized for her social impact in combining entertainment, philanthropy and her culinary lifestyle. Curry holds her cookbook — her first step toward a [...]

  • Joe Anthony Russo

    Russo Brothers Creating Marvel vs. DC Docu-Series for Quibi

    Anthony and Joseph Russo, who have been key creative members of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, are now bringing a new show to Quibi documenting the decades-long rivalry between Marvel and DC. Quibi, the mobile TV subscription startup founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg, greenlit “Slugfest,” a documentary series executive produced by the Russo Brothers, whose directing credits [...]

  • Nobu Hotel Palo Alto

    High-Tech Flourishes Help Hotels Thrive in Silicon Valley

    To thrive in Silicon Valley, hotels must be up to par, technology-wise. “The Nobu brand marries the east and west to create something entirely new — it’s approachable luxury,” says Andrew Tilley, VP of hotel openings. Nobu Hotel Palo Alto (180 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto, 650-666-3311, nobuhotels.com) is the latest retreat from chef Nobu Matsuhisa, [...]

  • sirius xm app on phone

    SiriusXM Starts Publishing Daily Videos From Dozens of Shows

    SiriusXM is doubling down on video: The satellite radio service officially announced a new initiative called SiriusXM Video Wednesday, with plans to publish daily videos from dozens of shows to paying subscribers. Some of the SiriusXM hosts you’ll be able to see more from include Kevin Hart, Jenny McCarthy, Joel Osteen, Karen Hunter and Jason [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content