AOL to hand off Patch to JV, will own minority stake

|About: AOL Inc. (AOL)|By:, SA News Editor

AOL is forming a JV with investment firm Hale Global that will own its troubled Patch local news unit. AOL will have a minority stake in the venture, which will be operated by Hale. (PR)

Patch's future has been up in the air for a while, as AOL struggled to turn a profit on a business (local news/ad sales) for which economies of scale are hard to come by. 40% of Patch's workforce was laid off last summer, and hundreds of Patch sites shut down.

AOL/Hale state that going forward, Patch will focus on providing a "mobile-first experience with social integration," self-service ad tools, and location-targeted ad products, among other things.

The deal comes shortly after AOL unloaded ancient media player Winamp and streaming radio site Shoutcast.