AOL will announce today that it has acquired “hyper-local” blog aggregator startup Outside.In, an industry source tells us.
We don’t know if AOL will announce how much it is paying for the company — probably not — but we’re told that it is less than $10 million.
We first reported that AOL and Outside.In were talking about a potential deal in January, but were warned that “These things take a long time.”
Based on AOL’s properties, it makes sense that Outside.in’s technology (and maybe a few employees) will be integrated into Patch, AOL’s network of local news blogs. (Read our detailed analysis of Patch here.)
We don’t expect Steven Berlin Johnson, Outside.in’s well-known founder, to play a role at AOL.
Here’s how Nicholas Carlson explained the deal at the time:
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.