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AOL Buys Weblogs

UPDATED: America Online said Thursday it will buy the Internet's leading blogging company, Weblogs, for approximately $25 million.

The Santa Monica, Calif.-based Weblogs, which produces a network of Internet sites specializing in "niche" consumer and trade markets, collects 30 million monthly Web page views and 25 million monthly RSS page views per month, AOL said.

The company's network includes approximately 80 advertising-supported sites published by a group of more than 100 bloggers. Its blog properties include Autoblog, Blogging Baby and Engadget, which is Weblog's busiest site, according to traffic measurement firm Technorati.

Weblogs will become a wholly-owned, stand-alone subsidiary of AOL, although it will operate with full editorial control and independence.

"This exciting and groundbreaking combination allows our audiences to be able to do a 'deep-dive' into a vast array of compelling topics that keep them interested and entertained on our network of properties, day after day.

Moreover, Weblogs provides AOL with the ability to quickly launch Web sites and communities across areas our audience is passionate about, and advertisers are interested in," Bankoff said.

"AOL has always been at the forefront of creating, expanding and celebrating flourishing communities online, where our members' voice is elevated to new levels of expression, creativity, and self-publishing," Jim Bankoff, AOL executive vice president of programming and products, said in a statement.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The agreement is expected to close next week.

"Weblogs has made great strides over the past two years building high-profile blogs," Jason McCabe Calacanis, co-founder and CEO of Weblogs, said in a statement. "Yet, we realized that taking our network to the next level required a partner not only with a significant audience, but the advertising expertise to leverage it.

Calacanis, who is well-known as the founder of The Silicon Alley Reporter, which chronicled the birth and giddy growth of New York's new media industry, folded publication in 2001 at the height of the dot-com implosion.

Calacanis founded Weblogs in 2003.

Weblogs is AOL's third acquisition of 2005. The company acquired Wildseed and Xdrive in August.

The blog and RSS landscape has steadily been shaping up as a highly competitive market, with numerous acquisitions positioning new leaders.

Earlier this week, RSS platform company NewsGator solidified its position with the acquisition of popular Macintosh RSS reader NetNewsWire. The NewsGator platform provides an integrated and synchronized reading and viewing across multiple devices, including the Web, mobile phones, televisions and e-mail.