It has been a little more than a year since AOL announced it was buying the mega news-aggregation website The Huffington Post for what was considered an astronomical price of $315 million.
At the time analysts wondered whether or not AOL-HuffPo would eventually become more HuffPo than AOL, since the site was showing some growth while AOL’s business was rapidly shrinking.
On Wednesday The New York Times’ Brian Stelter reported that after a recent reorganization, HuffPo co-founder Arianna Huffington had increased her authority at the expense of AOL, leading Stelter to speculate that HuffPo was being beefed up to return as a stand-alone entity.
Stelter also pointed out that, since the merger, the combined web traffic of AOL and HuffPo has increased slightly and HuffPo has helped stabilize the combined companies’ web traffic.
However, according to Business Insider, what Stelter considers a promotion is actually a demotion.
According to BI, Huffington no longer has oversight over many of AOL’s tech-oriented websites including AOL.com, which have a combined audience of over 50 million people.
That would make sense from the standpoint of AOL CEO Tim Armstrong who orchestrated the merger and has been watching for the past year as Huffington expands her empire within the confines of AOL, and may even be eyeing Armstrong’s job.
On the other hand, if Huffington viewed the recent changes as demotion, there is no way she would have agreed to it.
While Armstrong and Huffington continue to play their cat and mouse game, one thing is for sure. The stock market still thinks the merger was a bad idea, as AOL’s stock price is down 13% since the merger was announced, while the broad market is up about 6% during the same time period.