AOL buys HuffPo: Susan Mernit on who will benefit, who’s next (maybe)

Right now there’s lots of buzz about the latest big deal in the media business: AOL bought the Huffington Post for $315 million. Amid the flurry of reactions and speculations, my friend, colleague, and mentor Susan Mernit offered two observations I found especially intriguing…

Mernit’s points:

  • This is probably a good deal — for AOL. “I think Arianna Huffington is shrewd enough to know that the deal is better for AOL — and hopefully, for her investors and staff — than it is for HuffPo per se. While moving onto the AOL backend will save thousands in hosting costs, and a unified ad sales team will put AOL almost back to the glory days of being a must-buy service in terms of additional ad revenue, that doesn’t mean HuffPo is going to be a better service because of this deal.”
  • Is BlogHer next? “BlogHer fits [AOL CEO Tim] Armstrong’s model of running a series of great niche sites. And while AOL and HuffPot are good on news and gossip, they don’t have a smart Mom’s network, per se, which is one place where BlogHer has taken control of the 25-60 female audience. …But most of all, an attempt to acquire BlogHer would be good business.  If Armstrong and AOL want to acquire not only great brands but strong teams, they can’t do better.”

We’ll see what happens.

Meanwhile, from my perspective, I’d like to hope that now that Arianna Huffington is the new boss of TechCrunch editor Michael Arrington, maybe he might start curbing his tendency to be such a defensive jerk regarding the underrepresentation of women in tech, and on panels at tech conferences.

Yeah, I know….  dream on…

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