The new editor at TechCrunch, Erick Schonfeld, has gotten a little IPO-crazy in these heady days of Bubble 2.0. The best guess we've seen on a Huffington Post valuation is $60 million which, for a media company, is a drop in the bucket. We can't remember a tech or media company going public with a valuation anything like that. Huffington Post is the most unlikely IPO candidate since Wired in 1996 — and Wired had substantially more revenues and a real magazine business. Maybe we were onto something with the whole cheese thing. More likely? An acquisition.
- Yahoo News and Huffington Post have had a syndication deal since launch; buying HuffPo, as it's affectionately known, would boost Yahoo's blogger cred.
- AOL may be looking to augment its Weblogs Inc. stable with some good political commentary. HuffPo cofounder Ken Lerer was a bigwig at AOL back in the day — though that may not help him much with Time Warner's current leadership
- HuffPo's pseudo-namesake, the Washington Post, already has a syndication deal with them and a number of WaPo columnists blog for Huffington. The New York Times — heck, aren't they just a fancy blog already?
Really, any media company would be interested in the company that Lerer and Huffington have built — as a cheap add-on, mind you, not at a frothy IPO price. But why sell?
Even if HuffPo had any shot at an IPO — and, as Schonfeld's readers have hastened to tell him on TechCrunch's comments, it doesn't — it's not like its founders need the money. Huffington is a successful writer and got a fat divorce settlement. Lerer was a top executive at AOL and Time Warner and started his own PR firm in New York. This is their pet project and I can't see them selling anytime soon. Huffington — like Michael Moore — has world-changing aspirations. With plenty of money in her pocketbook, she doesn't have to worry about cashing out.
(Disclosure: I consulted for Huffington Post briefly in 2005.) (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)