The largest wireless carrier in the US has announced plans to buy one of the biggest internet portals… or rather, the company that was one of the biggest internet portals in the 90s.
Verizon plans to buy AOL for $4.4 billion.
AOL has actually changed quite a bit over the past 20 years. The company still makes a surprisingly large amount of money through dialup subscribers. But AOL has shifted its focus to advertising and content production: AOL owns Huffington Post, Engadget, and TechCrunch, among other properties. AOL also produces original video content.
In a statement, Verizon says the acquisition will help further its growth in the digital and video spaces.
AOL CEO Tim Armstrong will continue to be chief of the AOL division, which will operate as a subsidiary of Verizon after the sale is complete. That’s expected to happen this summer.
This isn’t the first time AOL has been involved in a major deal of this sort: about 15 years ago AOL and Time Warner started the process of merging… only to separate into separate companies again in 2008.
Maybe things will work out better this time around?
Full disclosure: I got my start in blogging by writing for AOL-owned websites including PVR Wire, Download Squad, and TV Squad. All of them have been shut down.