AOL steps back from Patch with joint venture

January 15, 2014
The AOL's Patch page for Fairfax, Virginia is pictured on August 21, 2013

AOL announced Wednesday it is giving up majority control of its troubled Patch hyperlocal news operations to a partner specializing in distressed firms.

A will be formed with Hale Global as the majority owner, according to a statement from the two firms. Terms were not disclosed but AOL said it would "retain a minority interest in Patch."

A new limited liability company will operate the Patch network of some 900 local news sites, which AOL said serves more than 16 million people monthly, according to the statement.

"Patch is an important source of information for communities, and the joint venture we created has a unified mission to provide local platforms and hyperlocal content," said Tim Armstrong, chairman and chief executive of AOL.

"AOL has established leading positions in attractive scaled opportunities including video, brands, advertising and subscriptions by making bold bets and strategically investing in these high-growth opportunities—and local will be a growth space during the next decade of the Internet."

Patch has long been seen as draining cash from AOL, which is repositioning itself as a digital media company after losing its market as an Internet service provider. AOL also operates news sites such as the Huffington Post and TechCrunch.

Last year, AOL said it was consolidating operations at Patch, a move which according to some reports would eliminate as many as 500 jobs, or 40 percent of the workforce.

Charles Hale, CEO of Hale Global, said in the statement that "along with AOL, we are committed to taking the necessary steps to ensure Patch remains a vibrant part of the community."

The Hale website said the company has "a 13-year track record as a buyer and partner of choice for special situations, including bankruptcies and underperforming divestitures from corporate parents."

Explore further: AOL buys two Web startups

Related Stories

AOL buys two Web startups

June 12, 2009

Internet pioneer AOL, which Time Warner plans to spin off into an independent company later this year, announced on Thursday that it had bought two small Web startups focused on local content.

AOL's Patch plans 500 local sites by end of year

August 17, 2010

(AP) -- AOL intends to grow its Patch network of community news sites to include more than 500 neighborhoods by the end of December - a move the struggling Internet company hopes will strengthen its online advertising business.

Recommended for you

The ethics of robot love

November 25, 2015

There was to have been a conference in Malaysia last week called Love and Sex with Robots but it was cancelled. Malaysian police branded it "illegal" and "ridiculous". "There is nothing scientific about sex with robots," ...

Nevada researchers trying to turn roadside weed into biofuel

November 26, 2015

Three decades ago, a University of Nevada researcher who obtained one of the first U.S. Energy Department grants to study the potential to turn plants into biofuels became convinced that a roadside weed—curly top gumweed—was ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.