AOL snaps up TechCrunch

Internet giant AOL yesterday announced that it had bought IT news blog TechCrunch.

The widely-predicted acquisition is part of a move by the once-mighty AOL to revive its fortunes by providing more original content.

Speaking at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco yesterday, AOL chief exec Tim Armstrong and TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington insisted the site would maintain its editorial independence.

"Can I still say whatever I want? That's part of the deal, right?" Arrington asked his new boss.

Armstrong responded: "We want you to do whatever you've done so far that's made you successful. We will try to be as hands off as possible.

"I expect us to build a more significant tech content business overall with TechCrunch as one of the pillars, and immediately get as much TechCrunch content to a wider audience as possible,".

Writing on the blog yesterday, Arrington called TechCrunch's acquisition by the Internet giant "a perfect fit", and said the sale spelled an end to the blog's logistical problems, enabling it to focus more on editorial content:

"[AOL] run the largest blogging network in the world and if we sold to them we'd never have to worry about tech issues again," he said, explaining the decision. "We could focus our engineering resources on higher end things and I, for one, could spend more of my day writing and a lot less time dealing with other stuff."

AOL also announced that it had acquired online video outfit 5min. New York-based 5min's video catalogue contains more than 200,000 videos from more than 1,000 media outlets, and boasted nearly 20 million unique viewers in August this year.

No details were given as to how much AOL paid for the companies.