According to numerous sources, while it has been negotiating its deal to sell to Verizon, AOL has also been in advanced discussions with a number of parties to spin off its flagship Huffington Post content unit.
The talks have been most serious with Axel Springer, the German media conglomerate, but a number of private equity firms have also expressed interest in the high-profile property. Sources said the Huffington Post has been valued at above $1 billion in this scenario, which would either be a complete sale or, more likely, structured as a joint venture.
The move would be designed to bring in more investment for growth for the Huffington Post, which AOL bought several years ago for $300 million. High content costs and the ability to monetize those assets, as well as grow them — AOL also owns TechCrunch and a number of other content properties — has been hard for the company. And competitors like BuzzFeed and Business Insider have garnered massive fundings to spur expansion.