AOL Will Buy TechCrunch, Mike Arrington and All

mike-arringtonMost executives, when they successfully negotiate a merger, release carefully written press releases in which each party lavishly praises the other and then pretty much leave it at that.

Not so Mike Arrington. When the TechCrunch founder announced the tech blog’s acquisition (actually the acquisition of its holding company, TechCrunch Inc.) by AOL today and then dramatically signed the deal on stage at the TechCruch Disrupt conference, he apparently couldn’t resist closing on a sour note.

“It all starts off so well,” Arrington said, after awkwardly embracing his new boss, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong.

Such acid-tongued asides are par for the course with Arrington, and AOL surely knows what it’s getting into by acquiring him. Indeed, the company has gone out of its way to ensure he remains attached to the blog as long as possible.

“I have a funny idea that I’ll be here at least three years based on a variety of incentives,” he said. Additionally, he praised AOL for agreeing to place no editorial bounds on what TechCrunch may publish.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. TechCrunch Inc.’s network includes MobileCrunch, CrunchGear, TechCrunchIT, GreenTech, TechCrunchTV and CrunchBase, as well as events such as The Disrupt series and The Crunchies Awards. It joins other AOL-owned blogs like Engadget; TUAW, the unofficial Apple weblog; and DownloadSquad.

News of the acquisition caps a very busy couple of days for AOL. On Monday it unveiled a widely anticipated revamp of its Web page design, including a much larger ad format, beginning with placements on StyleList and Moviefone.com.

And this morning the company said it had acquired 5min Media, a video distribution firm. 5min takes video created by others and distributes it among its network of publishers. The company claims a library of more than 200,000 videos from both well-known professional producers (CBS, Scripps) and smaller, independent studios, and a network of 800 partner sites.

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