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AOL acquires web development group Ashe Avenue

Ashe Avenue had worked with AOL on its brands for the last three years, including MAKERS.com

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
August 25, 2015
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/3fb8

AOL just made its first acquisition since being bought by Verizon earlier this year.

The company is has purchased is one it is familiar with: web development group Ashe Avenue, it was announced via a letter from John McKinney, co-founder and CEO of Ashe Avenue, on the company's homepage on Monday.

Ashe Avenue is a company that has worked on AOL brands for the past three years, including MAKERS.com.

"Since launching MAKERS.com in 2012, AOL has come to us for an engaging series of challenges - new platforms, product explorations, app development, even bringing us in to work on the redesign of their flagship product, AOL.com," wrote McKinney.

"Over time our partnership became more and more symbiotic, eventually reaching a tipping point earlier this year where it made more sense to join forces than to continue operating as two separate entities."

While no terms of the deal were disclosed, he did reveal that the Ashe Avenue team will be directly responsible for the innovation and engineering powering many of AOL’s largest lifestyle verticals, including its flagship site, AOL.com. 

In addition, McKinney signed off on the letter calling himself: CTO, AOL.com & Lifestyle Brands. It is unclear, though, how many other employees from the company will be making their way over to AOL.

Founded in 2007, the Brooklyn, New York-based Ashe Avenue partners with media companies, advertising agencies, event driven organizations and global brands to transform creative concepts into web-based experiences. 

The company also has offices in Chapel Hill, N.C. The name of the company comes from the origins of the company in Raleigh, North Carolina. 

Some of its clients have included VICE, NextNewNetworks.com, High Times and Illroots. It also did interactive projects for brands that includes Asics, Samsung, Lexus, Shutterstock, The company also built an interactive display inside PepsiCo’s Headquarters.

Like I said above, this is the first time that AOL has made since Verizon completed the deal, which was first announced in mid-May, to purchase the company for $50 a share, or $4.4 billion.

The purchase is widely seen as a way for Verizon to get its hands on AOL's video and advertising platform, which the company has built up in the years since its disastrous merger with Time Warner ended. The acquisition will help Verizon to bolster its wireless video and and OTT (over-the-top video) strategies. Those platforms will also be connected to Verizon's IoT (Internet of Things) platforms.

Now that AOL is owned by Verizon, there are some open questions, mostly having to do with the other properties it owns, the very ones that Ashe Avenue likely works with.

That includes a number of content brands the company also own, including The Huffington Post, TechCrunch and Engadget, and there has been no clear answer as to what will happen to those brands going forward. There has been speculation that, given Verizon's obvious interest in AOL's advertising and video platforms, it may sell off its other properties.

This is actually AOL's second acquisition this year. It previously purchased predictive analytics startup called Velos in June, which is promptly shut down.  

VatorNews has reached out to AOL for comment on the acquisition and we will update this story if we learn more. 

(Image source: asheavenue.com)