Fourfold jump in profit for AOL

AOL, the owner of TechCrunch and the Huffington Post, has reported a more than fourfold jump in first-quarter profit, which it puts down to an increase in online advertising revenue.

Net income advanced to $21.1m (€16.3m), or 22c a share, from $4.7m a year earlier, the New York-based company said in a statement yesterday. Excluding some items, per-share profit was 31c.

Chief executive Tim Armstrong is transforming AOL into an ad-based digital-publishing business, as customers of its dial-up internet division switch to broadband offered by cable operators. The company bought the Huffington Post for $315m last year and expanded Patch, a local-news division that Armstrong said he expects to command about $50m in sales this year and to become “run-rate profitable” by the end of 2013.

AOL is looking to expand the technology sites En-gadget and TechCrunch by working with another company, and has “no appetite to sell them”, Armstrong said. The technology blog PandoDaily earlier reported AOL was looking to offload those properties.

“We’re very interested in partnering with someone to invest more heavily in those sites,” Armstrong said.

While total advertising revenue increased 5% to $330.1m, US display advertising fell 1% to $118.9m, the first decline in the last five quarters.

Total AOL sales declined 4% to $529.4m, from $551.4m a year earlier.

— Bloomberg


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