Will AOL Choose WordPress VIP Over Blogsmith? (TechCrunch)

After first hearing rumors about AOL acquiring TechCrunch by Malik Om, it looks like the former internet giant has indeed purchased Michael Arrington’s blog network for an undisclosed sum. Update: see details below for rumored acquisition price.

AOL Inc. [NYSE: AOL] today announced that it has agreed to acquire TechCrunch, Inc., the company that owns and operates TechCrunch and its network of websites dedicated to technology news, information and analysis. TechCrunch and its associated properties and conferences will join the AOL Technology Network while retaining their editorial independence, further bolstering AOL’s position as one of the world’s leading providers of high-quality, tech-oriented content. The announcement will be made on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco, CA. (TechCrunch)

Although advertising rates for TechCrunch will probably go up, AOL has not yet indicated whether they will move the entire TechCrunch network upon Blogsmith (a platform AOL purchased in 2006) or allow them to remain upon Automattic’s servers (via WordPress VIP).

While Automattic would probably prefer to keep a high profile site like TechCrunch on their servers, it would not be surprising if AOL decided to migrate TechCrunch away from WordPress (although AOL will probably maintain their embrace of Disqus comments).

Update: Business Insider (via Gizmodo) is reporting AOL purchased TechCrunch for at least $25 million (although it could have been as high as $40 million).

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