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AOL's purchase of Huffington Post a smart move, say experts

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AOL shocked the media world by purchasing news blog The Huffington Post for $315 million Sunday, and as the experts weigh in, many think it’s a savvy deal between old and new from which both sides can potentially benefit.

Arianna Huffington, who started the site with former AOL exec Ken Lerer, will assume editorial control over all of AOL’s content, including its hyperlocal blog network, Patch, and popular tech blogs Engadget and TechCrunch.

While some worry her openly left-leaning politics might affect content, others think her new-media expertise will give AOL something it’s long been lacking.

Here’s what the experts say:

“Huffington will probably be better for AOL than AOL will be for the Huffington Post. But we can’t know what this will actually look like until she’s at work, whispering ‘darling’ to the Engadget bloggers.” — Alex Pareene, salon.com

“If this acquisition works, it will be because Arianna really is the boss of content and gets to scale her vision and because AOL brings its key strengths — ad sales and capital — to what comes next.” — Jeff Jarvis, buzzmachine.com

“There’s some downside risk to attaching Arianna Huffington’s name to a big, mainstream media brand, as her politics and/or persona might scare off some readers and/or advertisers.” — Peter Kafka, allthingsd.com

“More important, [the acquisition] will give AOL, which up until now has been a big blob of content, a legacy of its days as a portal, a unique identity and perspective.” — David Carr, The New York Times

“[I]t is one more chunk of evidence that online news and entertainment are an increasingly valuable force in a media world once dominated by old-guard newspapers, magazines and networks.” — Howard Kurtz, thedailybeast.com

“[T]he truth is, this deal is not a victory for either side. It’s a slow-motion train wreck and will end in disaster. … AOL touts itself as a media company, but … most of what AOL publishes is junk.” — Dan Lyons, thedailybeast.com

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