Arianna Huffington set for huge windfall

Steve Dinneen
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THE Greek-born co-founder and editor in chief of the HuffPo – as it is affectionately known – is in line for a huge paper windfall after AOL announced it will buy the firm.

While it is unclear exactly how much Arianna Huffington will receive – at least three venture capital firms have interests in the HuffPo, with Oak Investment Partners thought to own around a quarter of the business – it is certain to considerably add to her existing $115m fortune.

She vowed to remain with the organisation yesterday, saying “I want to stay forever. I want this to be my last act.”

The self-styled media maverick has built the organisation from a niche content provider to one of the most heavily visited news sites in the US.

However, the AOL deal, which will see her take control of all of the firm’s editorial content, will transform her from a respected commentator reaching 25m users a month, to the Svengali behind a sprawling network of news sources with an audience of around 270m.

The 60-year-old moved to the UK when she was 16 and was educated at Cambridge. She was involved in a 10-year relationship with the late Times columnist Bernard Levin before moving to the US.

She was married to oil billionaire Michael Huffington, who ran for the senate for the Republicans, and she later ran as an independent candidate for governor of California.

She was seen as a conservative commentator until switching to a more liberal outlook in the late 1990s.

She founded the HuffPo in 2005, along with Kenneth Lerer, and Jonah Peretti.