Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

AOL’s “Forget the Last Few Years Campaign” Continues With Buy.at Sale

Another marker in Tim Armstrong’s campaign to undo just about every part the old regime at AOL: The company has sold Buy.at, an affiliate marketing company it bought two years ago.

Digital Window Limited, a joint venture between Axel Springer AG and PubliGroupe, bought the U.K.-based unit. AOL (AOL) didn’t disclose a price, but it’s almost certainly much less than the $150 million Armstrong’s predecessors paid for the company back when parent company Time Warner (TWX) was funding an M&A binge.

To refresh your memory, that buying spree included the likes of Bebo, Quigo, Third Screen Media, AdTech, and Tacoda. And almost all of these purchases have been written down and/or disbanded.

A lot of that happened in the pre-Armstrong era, but the former Google (GOOG) executive is still busy remaking AOL to his own specifications. These include remaking the company’s sales team, as well as selling off other properties–“reviewing the list of AOL assets as they relate to the core strategy,” in AOL PR-speak–to raise cash and/or focus energy.

We’re still waiting to hear who walks off with ICQ, the instant-messaging service the company has owned for more than a decade.

But even while AOL is slimming down, it is looking to add bits and pieces when it can. It won’t spend a lot for them–AOL execs have told the M&A community that it won’t be plunking down more than the $36.5 million it spent on video platform StudioNow earlier this year.


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There was a worry before I started this that I was going to burn every bridge I had. But I realize now that there are some bridges that are worth burning.

— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle