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AOL Hands Off Patch To Turnaround Firm Hale Global

Jan 15 2014, 5:21pm CST | by

AOL Hands Off Patch To Turnaround Firm Hale Global

Photo Credit: Forbes
 
 

This is the way the saga of Patch and AOL ends: Not with a bang, nor with a whimper, but with a “Huh?”

Pressed to find a buyer or partner for his beloved network of community news sites, AOL chairman Tim Armstrong has struck a deal with Hale Global, an investment company that specializes in turnarounds. Patch will become the property of a new joint venture controlled by Hale, with AOL retaining only a minority stake.

It’s not exactly the kind of resolution Armstrong hinted at in November, on AOL’s last earnings call, when he said, “Patch has held a number of partnership conversations with partners and has received interest at a national, regional and local level.”

On its bare-bones website, Hale Global describes itself this way: “We specialize in creating value operationally in businesses facing strategic, financial, product, and other challenges. In addition to capital, we bring to these troubled situations extensive turnaround skills, deep operational benches, in-house software and mobile development teams, extreme transactional speed, and certainty of close.”

Extreme transactional speed and certainty of close are two things that must have held no small appeal for Armstrong, who had long been promising investors that he would solve the Patch problem one way or another by the end of 2013.

In a memo to AOL employees (published by Re/code), Armstrong described the deal as a “pivot.” In fact, he used the term seven times. He also said this:

Hale Global is a private company that has a successful track record of investing and growing technology assets, and we believe they are very well positioned to nurture and grow Patch. Hale has made investments in local commerce and platforms, and they have a strong team of leaders and technical expertise. Hale’s CEO, Charlie Hale, is a strong believer in the power of local, local platforms, and local storytelling.

Source: Forbes

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