Update: Yahoo has acquired the first company on this list, Associated Content. Oh well.
Earlier: AOL just sold its instant messaging company ICQ to Russian holding firm Digital Sky Technologies for $187 million.
Meanwhile, AOL ad revenues tanked another 19% during the first quarter.
The company needs to find a growth engine, fast.
AOL already tried to buy platform-for-SEO-friendly-content Associated Content last fall, but then parent company Time Warner said no. So AOL built Seed.com instead.
It hasn't really worked very well. And once again, we sincerely expect an AOL-AC deal. AOL can't spend more than a $100 million due to credit agreements, but we understand that doesn't keep it out of the AC-race.
Founded by former Gawker managing editor Lockhart Steele, the Curbed network is the place to go for real estate porn.
With its local content, Curbed could also help AOL crack the local ad market it's going after with its local blogs Curbed also owns the Eater and Racked sites.
AOL desperately needs more sites users go directly to besides AOL.com and the popular sites brought in through the Weblogs Inc. acquisition. The Huffington Post fits the bill precisely. It may cost more than the $100 million AOL is allowed to spend, however.
Thrillist is an email that goes out to guys in their 20s and 30s and tells them where to eat and drink.
Because the email goes only to people who have asked to receive it, the ads are very valuable. A video ad sold against the email can fetch a $275 CPM.
Comcast bought Daily Candy, an email list for women also owned by Thrillist's investors, for $125 million last year. Anything in that price range might be too pricey for AOL.
Tumblr was supposed to rival Twitter. It hasn't happened.
But if AOL were to buy it, it wouldn't just be getting a blog platform, it'd be buying the ability to advertise against a slew of relatively popular 'meme-blogs' like Garfield Minus Garfield, This Is Why You're Fat, Look At This Fucking Hipster and Pets Who Want to Kill Themselves.
Sure, these blogs are faddish and fade in popularity quickly. But owning the platform, AOL would be able to take advantage of them while they're hot and would have the inside track at acquiring any that showed signs of sustainability.
The whole reason for Seed.com and robo-content in general is that it provides AOL cheap content it can advertise against. Nothing is cheaper than the free content Tumblr gets!
If Foursquare can scale -- and that's a big if, since it's not certain normal people really want to 'check-in' from restaurants and bars -- it has a brilliant business ahead of it.
We think businesses will line up to pay Foursquare to let them shovel coupons in the direction of their most loyal customers.
Problem for AOL is, Foursquare probably costs more than the $100 million AOL is allowed to spend.
Breaking Media is the publishing company behind popular brands such as Fashonista, Dealbreaker and Above The Law. It's like a high-class Weblogs Inc. That deal worked out for AOL. So could this one.
Dan Abrams started his online publishing company just a year ago with media news site Mediaite. Now there's Styleite, GeekOSystem, Gossip Cop, and a sports site coming soon. The sites are surprisingly popular, and run by people who know what they're doing. There are lots of shareholders who wouldn't mind seeing an exit, either.
Under normal circumstances, there's no way Nick Denton would sell his sterling blog empire to AOL at price AOL could afford. But these aren't normal circumstances. Thanks to the Gizmodo/Apple scandal, Nick might be getting sick of the business. Could AOL swoop in to relieve him of the stress?
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