Founder Michael Arrington finalised the deal with AOL chief Tim Armstrong at the blog's Disrupt conference earlier this week. The move is certainly a big deal for Arrington and his blog, which in a few short years has earned a reputation for being well-conencted and having a knack for highlighting hot startups before they become huge.
While terms have not been made public (they rarely are when the target it privately held) the agreement is reportedly in the $30-40m range.
Certainly a nice nest-egg for Arrington, who recently moved to Seattle in what he jokingly describes as "half-retirement."
According to Arrington, however, the deal was not motivated by money or a desire to get out of the business. He says he will be with the site for at least three more years and offers the following explanation in a blog post.
The truth is I was tired. But I wasn't tired of writing, or speaking at events. I was tired of our endless tech problems, our inability to find enough talented engineers who wanted to work, ultimately, on blog and CrunchBase software. And when we did find those engineers, as we so often did, how to keep them happy. Unlike most startups in Silicon Valley, the center of attention at TechCrunch is squarely on the writers. It's certainly not an engineering driven company.
For AOL, the move adds on to what was already a formidable collection of blogs and sites. The company has a large collection of blogs on its hands from the acquisition of Weblogs Inc. a few years ago, and the company has been hiring journalists left and right to expand its Patch local news platform.
Arrington, meanwhile, has vowed not to let the change in ownership affect his blog's content. He said that the deal includes an acknowledgment that TechCrunch will retain editorial freedom to criticise any and all companies, including AOL.
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