AOL's Armstrong Denies Interest in Private Equity Deal

By Beecher Tuttle May 17, 2011

AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong on Monday rejected oft-mentioned rumors that his company is chasing a private equity deal.

Armstrong, who left Google in 2009 to take over the struggling AOL brand, confirmed that the company would like to remain private.

"We are not focused on a private equity deal now," AOL Chief Executive Tim Armstrong noted during the Reuters Global Technology Summit in New York. "We are focused on a turnaround and we're pretty excited about the business overall."

Armstrong's comments come about six months after Business Insider reported that Armstrong was "definitely" interested in the idea of private equity firms buying AOL and Yahoo and merging the two together under his leadership.

AOL's CEO also told conference attendees that the Web giant would consider adding to its recent string of acquisitions. The company's high profile purchases include TechCrunch, local news network Patch and, most recently, the Huffington Post.

"We would opportunistically add more assets to the platforms that we thought would be really successful," Armstrong said.

Armstrong also reemphasized the importance of the Huffington Post acquisition, referring to the online site's news stories and editorials as "some of the most addictive and obsessive content on the Internet."

AOL has been very active since the acquisition of Arianna Huffington's brain child, shutting down many of its underperforming sites while investing heavily in others.

In fact, the newly-formed AOL/Huffington Post Media Group just announced on Monday that it will be launching 33 new local Patch sites in New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina in anticipation of the national primary elections. The company told Reuters that it plans to hire as many as 50 employees to compensate for the increase in coverage.

AOL invested approximately $70 million in Patch in 2010 and said that it will spend another $160 million this year. The company hopes to make Patch profitable by the end of 2011.

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Beecher Tuttle is a TechZone360 contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

TechZone360 Contributor

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