Following news that vocally pro-Hillary Clinton Spanish language media conglomerate Univision, which had a Q3 loss of $30 million after revenues dropped 8% to $735 million, would lay off between 200 and 250 workers, in part driven by the media organization’s recent acquisition of insolvent Gawker Media, on Thursday ReCode reported that the media bloodbath continues, with another 500 workers, or 5% of the total staff, set to be let go by AOL.
Over the weekend we posted about how the media’s coverage of Trump and Clinton’s health had become “outright bizarre” (see “American Electorate Loses As Partisan Media Coverage Of Candidate Health Turns Outright Bizarre“). We also asked whether Google had taken measures to censor searches related to Hillary’s health condition (see “Is Google Censoring Search Results To Protect Hillary?“). Turns out that the Huffington Post may have just joined in on the bizarre behavior by censoring a journalist with the audacity to question Hillary’s health.
On Sunday night, an obviously shaken Huffington Post contributor, David Seaman, posted a video to YouTube after the HuffPo had taken measures to revoke his publishing access and delete two articles he had previously published on Hillary’s health…a move that left him “a little scared” and “spooked out”.
Five years after selling the HuffPo to AOL for $315 million in 2011, Arianna Huffington has had enough of media, and as she announced moments ago, she is stepping down as Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post which she founded in 2005 to run a new health and wellness venture.
I thought HuffPost would be my last act. But I’ve decided to step down as HuffPost’s editor-in-chief to run my new venture, Thrive Global.
— Arianna Huffington (@ariannahuff) August 11, 2016
Huffington, 66, announced her departure in a memo to staff of the publication. She said she had intended to keep running the Huffington Post but decided to turn her attention to her startup, Thrive Global, after attracting investors and hiring staff.
– Gov’t Report: CNN, Huffington Post listed as ‘external stakeholders’ in NRC, alongside nuclear industry and pro-nuclear blogs — Both outlets help NRC to increase online influence, as CNN produces pro-nuclear infomercial (ENENews, Dec 16, 2013):
Independent Evaluation of NRC’s Use and Security of Social Media, Office of the Inspector General, Jan. 2013:
The obvious first answer is Arianna Huffington and Ken Lerer, co-founders of the company.
But there were also plenty of investors in the company, including:
- Huffington, Lerer, friends and family, who provided the company’s $3 million seed round.
- Softbank Capital, Greycroft Partners and Bob Pittman, who put in $10 million over two rounds of VC. Softbank is a big venture firm that was an early investor in Yahoo and invests in social media companies like Paper.li. Softbank Partner Eric Hippeau went on to become Huffington Post’s CEO up until the acquisition. Greycroft was founded by private equity god Alan Patricof. And Bob Pittman founded MTV and invests in plenty of media companies.
- Oak Investment Partners led the company’s last round, $25 million at a reported $100 million post-money valuation. That means Oak owned around 25% of the company and did a quick 3X on their money — not bad. Interestingly, Oak was also a big investor in another huge and sometimes controversial online media company, Demand Media.
Because we don’t know the valuations of the earlier rounds, and how Huffington and Lerer split the pie, it’s hard to know exactly who made what.
(Update: an analyst estimates that Huffington made around $100 million in the acquisition.) But with four rounds of financing it’s probably safe to say investors collectively owned over half of the company with the rest split between employees and early founders.
Arianna Huffington said that as she began talking to Tim Armstrong of AOL, “it was really amazing how aligned our visions were.”
The Huffington Post, which has grown from its small but splashy debut in 2005 into one of the Web’s most popular news sites, has agreed to sell itself to AOL, Jeremy W. Peters and Verne G. Kopytoff report in The New York Times on Monday.
Under the terms of the deal, AOL will pay $315 million — $300 million in cash and the rest in stock.
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News On Sunday, Tim Armstrong said the deal fit “right into our strategy.”
The deal is AOL’s biggest since separating from Time Warner in 2009, and showcases the company’s intent to focus on original content. (In September, AOL bought TechCrunch, the influential technology blog founded by Michael Arrington.)
But it also represents a major media move by The Huffington Post’s co-founder, Arianna Huffington.
More from The Times: