AOL Buys Top Tech Blog TechCrunch

AOL has agreed to acquire TechCrunch for a reported $25 million to $40 million. TechCrunch will join Engadget, DownloadSquad and other popular properties at AOL.

AOL agreed to buy popular technology blog TechCrunch, which will join Engadget, the DownloadSquad, the unofficial Apple Weblog and other blogs in AOL's Technology Network.

Financial terms of the deal, announced and inked onstage by TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington and AOL CEO Tim Armstrong Sept. 28 at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco, were not disclosed. However, reports peg the purchase price between $25 million and $40 million.

A key term of the deal is that Arrington will be able to maintain his Websites' editorial independence without interference from Armstrong or his executives.

TechCrunch will retain its headquarters in San Francisco as a wholly owned unit of AOL. Arrington has agreed to stay on at TechCrunch for the next three years.

TechCrunch operates Websites in Europe and Japan, as well as Websites with special focuses on certain sectors of technology, including MobileCrunch, CrunchGear, TechCrunchIT, GreenTech, TechCrunchTV and CrunchBase.

TechCrunch also hosts conferences such as Disrupt, where Google CEO Eric Schmidt spoke today.

AOL, which also acquired video startup 5min Media today, is trying to refashion itself into an Internet company that makes money from online advertising, competing with Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter, among others.

One of its strategies is bulking up its media properties, hiring hundreds of writers to kick in content about various topics.

The AOL Technology Network ranks in the top five for tech news and leads the top five in average time spent and average visits per user, according to comScore.

Now TechCrunch, which racks up 33 million page views per month and has 10 million unique visitors, will be the latest hot property AOL will seek to monetize with ads, confirmed Armstrong.

"TechCrunch and its team will be an outstanding addition to the high-quality content on the AOL Technology Network, which is now a must-buy for advertisers seeking to associate their brands with leading technology content and its audience," Armstrong said in a statement.

In 5min Media, AOL has acquired a video syndication network with a library of videos from more than 1,000 media companies and small video producers. The buy will complement video creation platform StudioNow, which AOL acquired earlier this year for $36.5 million.

AOL is also pursuing a "mobile first" strategy, launching Android applications and a new mobile Web portal. AOL also acquired mobile location-based service provider Rally Up earlier this month.