Wow. The rumors are true: AOL is buying TechCrunch, and it's going down at TechCrunch Disrupt right now, with TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington
and AOL CEO Tim Armstrong
taking the stage to announce the purchase.
: A few more relevant details: Arrington will be staying onboard for three more years, and TechCrunch has signed an agreement guaranteeing what they say is complete editorial freedom -- Arrington said that "if someone releases leaked AOL documents to us, we can publish them with complete freedom."
Contrary to Robert Scoble's surmise earlier today that the sale would likely have to be "between $50 million and $75 million," partly as a means of Arrington sticking it to longtime rival Jason Calacanis
, who sold Weblogs Inc. to AOL for $25 million, TBI reports based on the word of a "second-hand source" that the deal will only be worth about $25 million, which would be low based on TechCrunch's yearly revenue of $10 million; however, they note that "It's possible that the $25 million is just an initial payment and that the price could include an earn-out for excellent performance."
: CNBC is now reporting that the price was $40 million.
: Quite a day for AOL: They've also announced that they're acquiring Thing Labs (maker of Brizzly) in addition to TechCrunch and their earlier purchase of 5min Media.
Here's the press release announcing the purchase: (yoinked from MediaMemo)