Oldish media meets newish media, "SEO speedwagons" ... who cares? What everyone really wants to know about AOL's purchase of the Huffington Post is how much of the $315 million Arianna Huffington is left holding in her pageview-stained fingers — and whether she sold at the right time. With four rounds of funding under HuffPo's belt, including one seed round and three venture-capital rounds adding up to an estimated $37 million over six years, it's hard to say how much the investors took home and how Huffington and co-founder Ken Lerer divvied up the remainder. But one Wall Street analyst estimates at least $100 million. Needham & Co.'s Laura Martin told the Hollywood Reporter, "I don't know what their ownership is, but I assume it will be $100 million or more for her."
But Business Insider points out that after four rounds, investors likely own more than half of the company. To get Arianna's share, you'd also have to subtract employees' equity stake and early founders'. Which might be why Drudge Report's sources (Breitbart, is that you?) peg her share significantly lower.
Top sources close to the deal reveal Huffington will bank $18 million, after all is said and done, in addition to a lucrative new salary base of $4 million a year. "She is ecstatic," explains a close friend. "It's been a life of hard work."
As for the question of timing, Oak Investment Partners valued the company at $100 million (after Oak's $25 million infusion of cash). That means a three-times return on investment. The $315 million was also ten times the company's 2010 revenue. But even though they avoided the lengthy, costly process of an IPO, one detractor thinks they sold too soon. Gawker's Nick Denton told Business Insider, "I thought they were holding out for a billion."
ARIANNA: $18 MILLION WOMAN! [Drudge Report]
Huffington Post sale: who gets the $315m? [Guardian UK]
Arianna Huffington Wants AOL to Be 'My Last Act' [Hollywood Reporter]
Here's Who Made Bank On The Huffington Post Acquisition [BI]
Denton On HuffPo Sale: "I Thought They Were Holding Out For A Billion" [BI]