Two years later, we're finally learning how much Arianna Huffington earned after she sold the Huffington Post to AOL for a reported $315 million.
All we really care about is the money. When major publications get sold, journalists chase the almighty dollars, even though sometimes these things stay secret, because that's what we want to know. How much did he or she make. How much did Nate Silver make for selling FiveThirtyEight to ESPN and Disney? No one knows. (At least no one who's talking on the record.) It may take years for the gory details of the sale to come out, if today's Huffington Post disclosure is any indication.
Thankfully, the Smoking Gun is here to fill in the blanks. They obtained memo, prepared for AOL board members in February 2011 by Tim Armstrong, then Huffington Post CEO, and Artie Minson, the Post's former COO, that contains all kinds of juicy details about the sale. There was plenty of debate surrounding how much Huffington made in the deal, and it turns out the more modest estimates were closer to reality than those guessing $100 million. Huffingtons's take was roughly $21 million, plus options that would lead to more down the road:
According to the AOL memo, Huffington, 63, received about $21 million, of which $3.4 million came in options that would vest about 20 months after the deal closed. Additionally, her employment agreement--which was then being negotiated--called for Huffington to receive another $3 million in equity grants (stock options and restricted stock units).
You can read the whole memo here.