It was barely a shadow of The Deal that AOL founder Steve Case made in 2000 when AOL acquired Time Warner for $164 billion, but the Internet company, now divorced from Time Warner, is back on the acquisition path. In a surprise announcement today (Monday) AOL said that it had agreed to buy the HuffingtonPost.com for $315 million. In a statement that brought back memories of the glowing pronouncements issued by Case and Time Warner chief Jerry Levin at the time of the merger, AOL's current chairman, Tim Armstrong, said, "Together, our companies will embrace the digital future and become a digital destination that delivers unmatched experiences for both consumers and advertisers." In her statement, Arianna Huffington beamed, "This is truly a merger of visions and a perfect fit for us." It all seemed too familiar to Case, who tweeted, "Tim Armstrong says 1 + 1 will equal 11. Really? That wasn't my experience." Two years ago, after Time Warner executed the divorce with AOL, he quoted Thomas Edison as saying, "Vision without execution is hallucination" Then added "pretty much sums up AOL/TW -- failure of leadership (myself included)." Levin later admitted that he had "presided over the worst deal of the century," and took the blame for not being able to take the synergistic "concept" and "meld it into a missionary zeal."

07/02/2011