AOL wants to buy TechCrunch at a 70 percent discount to Arrington's nine-figure price tag

Time Warner's AOL and TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington have been talking for the past two months, with AOL offering Arrington $20 million to $30 million to acquire tech's most dutiful clearinghouse for startup PR. Kara Swisher says that TechCrunch wants more than $30 million; we've heard he's looking for more like $100 million. Arrington has perpetually shopped his site around; all this deal talk reminds us how, just the other weekend, we overhead him wishing he could just sell out and move to Hawaii. Which makes for a nice pipe dream, but a weak negotiating position. Another reason to be skeptical: This is not Arrington's first flirtation with Time Warner.

When Business 2.0, published by Time Inc., another arm of Time Warner, was on the rocks, its editor talked up a deal to save the magazine by merging it with TechCrunch. Those talks went nowhere. All of which makes us feel bad for TechCrunch coeditor Erick Schonfeld, who previously worked at Business 2.0; wasn't the whole idea of joining TechCrunch to escape Time Warner?