AOL Buys TechCrunch

AOL said it has reached a deal to acquire TechCrunch, Inc., including the highly influential technology news site According to sources, the deal is valued in the neighborhood of $30 million.

TechCrunch was founded in 2005 by Michael Arrington, a former lawyer, who over the past several years has arguably become the leading voice of Silicon Valley, as well a major force behind the legitimization of blogging as respected journalism. TechCrunch obsessively covers the tech startup word, along with giants such as Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and Google.

Besides, the deal includes the TechCrunch network, which features properties such as MobileCrunch, CrunchGear, TechCrunchIT CrunchBase and others. The popular conference TechCrunch Disrupt, where the deal was announced on Tuesday (Sept. 28) is also now under AOL’s domain.

Officials at AOL said the plan is to bundle TechCrunch with its collection of tech properties, which are anchored by the similarly themed blog Engadget under the umbrella brand the AOL Technology Network. That combination would likely cement AOL as must buy for tech advertisers, said AOL CEO Tim Armstrong.

The deal represents possibly the biggest splash made by AOL during Armstrong’s tenure. The company’s focus under the former Google executive has been on original content. But until recently, that strategy has focused on small scale publishing efforts, like AOL’s Seed project, as well as recent partnerships such as AOL’s deal with Telepictures Productions centered around The Ellen DeGeneres Show’s Web site.

The TechCrunch deal is the second major acquisition announced by AOL today. The company has also snatched up the video syndication firm 5min Media.