AOL is talking to local news aggregator Outside.in about a possible acquisition, we’ve heard from multiple sources.One source close to the deal told us that it would be “premature” to report that AOL has acquired Outside.in, and that another party may be involved in the negotiations.
“These things take a long time,” said the source.
AOL PR tells us it’s company policy not to comment on rumours or speculation. Many Outside.in investors we reached also declined to comment.
Outside.in was founded in 2006 by author Steven Johnson. Investors include Union Square Ventures, Marc Andreessen, John Borthwick, Esther Dyson, and CNN. Quincy Smith and Michael Marquez over at CODE Advisors are working the deal.
When we graded USV’s portfolio in 2010, we gave Outside.in a D-. We gave it that lousy grade because the product itself yielded less than impressive results when we plugged in our own neighborhoods. (I live in Washington Heights, and Outside.in gives me news about Washington D.C. and upstate New York.)
One local investor we interviewed told us, “I don’t get that company.” Lots of people we reached for this story were surprised Outside.in is still around.
If AOL completes the deal, Outside.in will probably get integrated into Patch, the local news blog network AOL is spending millions trying to turn into a real business. The Outside.in brand will probably go away, and the tech will get integrated into Patch’s site. We have to figure AOL won’t pay much.