After Two Years, AOL and HuffPost Like the Connection

4798Two years after it acquired the Huffington Post, AOL still faces challenges in courting consumers and advertisers -- but it is beginning to show progress.

Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, with CEO Jimmy Maymann at their New York City headquarters. (Photo: Eileen Blass, USA TODAY)
While scheduling a business lunch in late 2010, Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington and AOL CEO Tim Armstrong each had a question for the other.

Huffington, who was hosting the meal at her home, asked whether there was anything he didn't eat. (The answer: mushrooms.)

Armstrong asked whether he could bring along his chief financial officer. That made the AOL honcho's intentions clear, and he swiftly expressed them when the group gathered.

"Up front, before the first course was served, he said he wanted to buy The Huffington Post," Huffington said in an interview at her New York office this week.

Soon after that meeting -- during halftime at Super Bowl XLV in Dallas -- the deal was signed. AOL paid $315 million for the site.

Together, the companies would create "a digital destination that delivers unmatched experiences for both consumers and advertisers," Armstrong said when the deal was announced.

Two years after that acquisition, and nearly four years after Armstrong took the helm, AOL still faces challenges in courting consumers and advertisers. But it is finally showing progress.

On Friday, AOL reported its first increase in quarterly revenue in eight years. Revenue rose 4%, to $599 million, in the fourth quarter. Net income, bolstered by a $16.8 million gain from the sale of overseas assets, was $35.7 million, or 41 cents a share. In 2011, AOL earned $22.8 million, or 23 cents a share.

"We have walked through the valley of the turnaround and have gotten to growth," Armstrong said during Friday's earnings call.

Source: USA Today | Laura Petrecca
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