AOL dumps hyper-local news site Patch

The Internet company gives up controlling interest of Patch's more than 900 local news sites to investment holding company Hale Global.

Patch/Screenshot by CNET

AOL announced Wednesday that it's giving up most of its control over Patch.com.

Hale Global, an investment holding company, will take over Patch's more than 900 news sites within the next three months. Patch, a network of community-oriented sites publishing local news, serves more than 16 million people, according to a press release.

"We are committed to bringing users, local businesses, writers and advertisers together into a Patch experience full of innovation and growth," Charles Hale, CEO of Hale Global, said in the release. "Along with AOL, we are committed to taking the necessary steps to ensure Patch remains a vibrant part of the community. We are impressed by the commitments from Patch and AOL to serve communities and advertisers and look forward to working together to achieve our shared long-term vision."

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong -- who started Patch in 2007 before selling the company to AOL -- expressed confidence in Hale Global's ability to turn the sites around, despite Patch's financial problems.

"Patch is an important source of information for communities, and the joint venture we created has a unified mission to provide local platforms and hyper-local content," he said in the release. "AOL has established leading positions in attractive scaled opportunities including video, brands, advertising and subscriptions by making bold bets and strategically investing in these high-growth opportunities -- and local will be a growth space during the next decade of the Internet."

It's not a surprising development given Patch's shaky financial footing in recent months.

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