Around the town
It’s an unhappy holiday over at Time Inc.: CEO Joe Ripp has lowered the corporate match on contributions to the 401(k) plan by two percent, and there are rumors that on Dec. 9, at the company’s quarterly management meeting, Mr. Ripp will announce a plan to to cut $125 million in costs from the budget next year. (New York Post)
The morning that Aol CEO Tim Armstrong announced the $315 million acquisition of the Huffington Post, he stood beside a beaming Arianna Huffington in the company’s Broadway headquarters.
Watching from the back of the room, I remember Huffington proudly declaring that her sister, Agapi Stassinopoulos, whom she had brought with her, still used an Aol e-mail address.
The couple hundred assembled Aol workers, already disoriented by the surprise merger, greeted this with a tentative cheer that seemed to trail off into a question mark. Even employees found it hard to reconcile the company’s ambitions as a world-beating tech giant with the unfashionable reality of having Aol e-mail.
As a lifelong Hotmail user, smirking at the hipster apocalypse that was yesterday’s Gmail outage, I beg to differ.
Red Carpet Real Estate
We knew things weren’t going great over at AOL, but we’d no idea CEO Tim Armstrong had gone full Greta Garbo.
Earlier today, Mr. Armstrong gathered the employees of Patch together on a conference call to announce hundreds of site closing and layoffs, effective next week. Now, that was never going to go over very well. But according to reports published by Jim Romanesko and TechCrunch, the CEO made things even more miserable by, it seems, abruptly firing someone (maybe a creative director) who tried to snap a photo of Mr. Armstrong:
We’ve heard that media doyenne Arianna Huffington has been looking for a good perch in the city ever since HuffPo got snapped up by AOL, and now the New York Daily News is claiming that Ms. Huffington is headed to the Upper East Side, where she is may or may not have bought a townhouse on East 80th Street.
Facebook and its underwriters face IPO backlash, the SEC indicates it will target VaR, and more in today’s Wall Street roundup.
Facebook flap: Research teams at Morgan Stanley and other Facebook underwriters cut earnings projections after updated regulatory filings on May 9 showed Zuck & Co. struggling to make money on mobile—and those Read More
AOL will sell more than 800 patents to Microsoft in exchange for $1.056 billion in cash, the company announced today. The dial-up giant retained patents of 300 “core and strategic” technologies, which it will non-exclusively license to Microsoft in the same deal.
The auction for the patents began last fall, part of the company’s long term plan to “unlock value” for shareholders. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2012, and the company says it plans to return a significant portion of the proceeds to shareholders.
Meanwhile, WWD caught AOL and Huffington Post editor Arianna Huffington at her book party for Kathy Freston (Ms. Freston introduced Ms. Huffington to her business partner Kenneth Lerer), to find out how she felt about about her growing influence at AOL.
Attendees at AOL and PBS’s recent joint “Makers Lunch” at AOL Studios in the Village posed in front of a bank of monitors featuring images of Katie Couric, Condoleezza Rice, Sandra Day O’Connor, and other famous femmes. They were celebrating the launch of Makers.com, a site that features video interviews with a number of lady machers who Read More
IMPRESSIVE DISPLAYS OF CHUTZPAH
New York Times Magazine writer Andrew Goldman kicked off his “Talk” with AOL CEO Tim Armstrong by revealing that Arianna Huffington, editor in chief of the AOL-owned Huffington Post, was not very pleased with her own turn in the Q&A column.
AG: After AOL purchased The Huffington Post last year, I interviewed Arianna Huffington. She hung up on me and complained to my editors. So I was pleasantly surprised that you agreed to this interview.
TA: I read the interview when it came out, and it looked like it was rough. We don’t hold grudges around here.
Back in April, Mr. Goldman and Ms. Huffington got into it over the alleged red shift that had struck the news site, once known as the liberal’s Drudge Report, since its merger with AOL.
Alexia Tsotsis was a well-liked and popular tech blogger before she was at TechCrunch, back when she was at SF Weekly. She became even more well-liked and popular when Michael Arrington corralled her into going to TechCrunch, which was shortly before AOL bought the site out and promised Michael Arrington the full editorial autonomy to be as combative and belligerent with his new ownership as he had been with anyone with the past. Not long after, AOL chief content capo Arianna Huffington pushed Michael Arrington out to show him just how much autonomy the irascible feeding-hand-biting blogging mogul had. Because TechCrunch’s chief Kool-Aid mixer, Mr. Arrington, was out of the picture, some of the best TechCrunch writers on staff started quitting. Ms. Tsotsis has held out.
It is now safe to say she appears tired of holding out.
Marie Claire gave Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly a tough but fair Q & A, and you should read the whole thing because it’s fascinating, but these are the undisputed highlights:
You have a very close relationship with Fox News CEO Roger Ailes. Tell us something we may not know about him.
Obviously he’s very powerful, a television genius. Even his critics will cop to that. But he is also somebody who looks out for the people who work for him. A couple years ago, I had a very bad stalking problem. I was living alone in D.C. In addition to security Fox provided me, Roger offered to pay out of his own pocket for special dead bolts throughout my home. It was just a small thing, but he didn’t have to do it. I had a boss who cared, and it made me feel better.