In case you haven’t had your fill of AOL news this week: Patch editor-in-chief Brian Farnham surprised employees today by declaring he will be out the door May 4.
The once-mighty Internet corporation stunned Silicon Valley just days ago by announcing it was unloading the majority of its patents to Microsoft for more than $1 billion. Now, Farnham’s imminent departure raised questions about the future of a once highly touted hyper-local news and community site that reportedly lost $160 million in 2011 alone.
AOL’s media business now also spans TechCrunch, Engadget, and the Huffington Post — all under the auspices of Arianna Huffington.
“Taking leave of Patch ain’t easy, but let me try to boil down why I’m doing so: it turns out I really love creating things from scratch, and while Patch is in a continual process of truly fascinating evolution and only a toddler of a company, it has definitely left “scratch” in the dust,” Farnham wrote in a Wednesday blogpost. “So I’m heading off to explore some other startup opportunities. But not before I take a good, long nap.”
Industry insiders had speculated that Patch — or any of a number of AOL properties — was on the auction block, even before the patent sale. Some trade publications in particular had wondered whether Huffington — who crossed to Tim Armstrong’s empire with the acquisition of her namesake content website amid much fanfare — might not see her influence diminish.