AOL buys TechCrunch

AOL has bought leading technology news site TechCrunch. The deal was signed on stage at TechCrunch’s Disrupt conference ahead of an interview with AOL CEO Tim Armstrong.

According to a blog post by TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington about the sale, the site will be free to criticise AOL in its coverage.

Arrington explains his reasons behind the sale:

The truth is I was tired. But I wasn’t tired of writing, or speaking at events. I was tired of our endless tech problems, our inability to find enough talented engineers who wanted to work, ultimately, on blog and CrunchBase software. And when we did find those engineers, as we so often did, how to keep them happy. Unlike most startups in Silicon Valley, the center of attention at TechCrunch is squarely on the writers. It’s certainly not an engineering driven company.

AOL of course fixes that problem perfectly. They run the largest blogging network in the world and if we sold to them we’d never have to worry about tech issues again. We could focus our engineering resources on higher end things and I, for one, could spend more of my day writing and a lot less time dealing with other stuff.

According to an FT report, Arrington gave no comment on the value of the deal, but has been given “various incentives” to remain at TechCrunch for at least three years following the sale.

(Hat tip to GigaOm, who saw it coming way before us…)

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