Deals

AOL snaps up Brizzly creator Thing Labs, web video company 5min

Brizzly LogoAcquiring TechCrunch was certainly AOL’s biggest announcement today, but the company didn’t stop there: This afternoon, news spread that AOL has also purchased Thing Labs — creator of the Brizzly social media reader — for an undisclosed amount, PaidContent reports.

AOL also officially announced this morning that it has acquired web video syndication company 5min Media. Terms of that deal weren’t disclosed either, but sources familiar with the deal say that it’s close to $65 million, according to AllThingsDigital.

We reported weeks ago that AOL and Thing Labs were looking to make a deal and that it would likely be valued in the low tens of millions. In addition to continuing their work on Brizzly, AOL is also putting the Thing Labs team in new management positions running AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) and AOL Lifestream. The team is spearheaded by former Google Reader product manager Jason Shellen and will be reporting to Brad Garlinghouse, president of consumer applications at AOL.

Brizzly has always seemed like a direct competitor to AOL Lifestream, so it’s going to be interesting to see how AOL juggles both products. Lifestream picks up about 5 million users a year, and Garlinghouse believes the Thing Labs team will be able to make it an even more useful product.

With 5Min, AOL gains access to a video syndication network of more than 200,000 “categorized, tagged, and rated” videos, from more than 1,000 media companies and independent video producers. The site is focused on instructional and do-it-yourself videos and has a network of more than 800 partner sites that can target viewers across 21 different content verticals.

5min’s videos are already being integrated with some AOL sites through a deal reached before AOL’s purchase. “With 5min Media we’ll be able to add more video inventory to our pages. Importantly, we’ll also be able to identify video content holes among our sites, tap our StudioNow [a video creation company AOL bought in January] capabilities to fill those needs and create a truly ‘demand informed’ video library,” AOL CEO Tim Armstrong said.

All of AOL’s acquisitions from today are clearly strategic: Thing Labs gives the company a better social media management presence, 5min offers an easy way to distribute its videos, and of course, TechCrunch gives the media giant a popular source of technology coverage that’s different from its other properties like Engadget.