Over the last year, AoL, in its effort to transition into a digital media company, purchased Arianna Huffington's "Huffington Post" for $300 million and Michael Arrington's "TechCrunch" for $30 million.
This week, a "war" between the two editors has erupted, leaving AoL on the verge of losing Arrington.
In being acquired, Arrington was promised editorial independence and Huffington was told she would have full primacy in editorial matters, for the whole company.
Earlier this week, Arrington started a venture capital firm to invest in tech companies and Huffington used it as an excuse to take over editorial control of TechCrunch.
Says Arrington of the move:
As of late last week TechCrunch no longer has editorial independence. Some argue that the circumstances demanded it. I disagree. Editorial independence was never supposed to be an easy thing for Aol to give us. But it was never meaningful if it shatters the first time it is put to the test.
We’ve proposed two options to Aol.
1. Reaffirmation of the editorial independence promised at the time of acquisition. Given the current circumstances, that means autonomy from Huffington Post, unfettered editorial independence and a blanket right to editorial self determination. To put it simply, TechCrunch would stay with Aol but would be independent of the Huffington Post.
2. Sell TechCrunch back to the original shareholders.
If Aol cannot accept either of these options, and no other creative solution can be found, I cannot be a part of TechCrunch going forward.
Will be interesting to see the final conclusion to the situation.
Written by: Andre Yoskowitz @ 6 Sep 2011 19:56