Latham and Simpson Thacher lead on AOL's $315m Huffington Post buyout

08 Feb, 2011

Latham & Watkins and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett have taken lead roles on the $315m (£195m) sale of online news aggregator The Huffington Post to global media giant AOL, reports The Am Law Daily.

AOL will pay $300m (£186m) in cash, while the remainder of the payment will come in the form of stock. The acquisition, which is expected to close early in the second quarter of 2011 at the latest, creates a new media group that the companies expect will draw 270 million unique global visitors each month.

Latham represented Huffington Post on the transaction, fielding a team led by Los Angeles partner Alex Voxman and counsel David Blood. Benefits and compensation partner Laurence Seymour, tax partner Samuel Weiner, antitrust partner Abbott Lipsky and antitrust counsel Sydney Smith also advised on the deal.

AOL turned to longstanding outside counsel Simpson Thacher & Bartlet and Palo Alto M&A partner Peter Malloy. In September Malloy advised AOL in connection with its purchase of web video syndication company 5min Media. Malloy also advised the company in 2000 on its union with Time Warner.

The Simpson Thacher team working on the Huffington Post deal included tax partner Katharine Moir, intellectual property partner Lori Lesser, and executive compensation partner Tristan Brown. AOL’s general counsel is Julie Jacobs, who stepped into that role in May 2010.

Arianna Huffington (pictured), co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, will be named president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group. In that role, she will oversee all Huffington Post and AOL editorial content.

According to the release announcing the deal, The Huffington Post’s online audience grew by 22% in December 2010 versus the same month in 2009. The site, which was launched in 2005, currently attracts almost 25 million unique monthly visitors.

AOL plans to take advantage of Huffington Post’s community building features, such as the regular contributions from influential political and cultural figures and the four million user comments the site draws each month.

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