Ken Auletta at the New Yorker is saying that the AOL acquisition of the Huffington Post is Tim Armstrong's "Hail Mary" pass for AOL. Since yesterday's announcement AOL's stock has been failing towards its yearly lows of $19.52 now at $20.50 as I write this. I say this is a "Hail Arianna" pass that will be caught.
How can one person make the difference in the fortunes of a company? Think Steve Jobs of Apple, Larry Ellison of Oracle, Bill Gates of Microsoft, Larry Page of Google, and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. Arianna is now the president of the Huffington Post Media Group an AOL Company with a domestic audience of 117 million people.
I was an original investor in Arianna Huffington's Huffington Post back in March of 2005. Why? I wanted to see an effective progressive voice operating online. Back then Arianna was a consummate blogger who relentlessly and effectively articulated many of our frustrations with the Bush administration particularly its march into Iraq. Back then Arianna met Ken Lerer a genius strategist and teamed up with him to create the Post.
Ken helped built the infrastructure around Arianna turning the blogger she once was into an institution. Last year Arianna met Tim Armstrong the new CEO of AOL and now he teams up with her supplying the infrastructure that multiplies the reach of the Post fivefold.
Yes, I made a very nice return on my investment. I am using part of it to aggressively buy up AOL stock and while saying my Hail Ariannas.