AOL Inc. said early Monday morning plans to acquire online news website Huffington Post for $315 million, as part of the companies attempt to turn its business around with a strategy of becoming a top producer of digital content.

Huffington Post, a news website founded in 2005 reached 25 million unique visitors in December, according to comScore. The combination would put AOL at 117 million unique U.S. visitors.

With the help of our CEO, Eric Hippeau, and our president and head of sales, Greg Coleman, we'd been able to make the site profitable. Now was the time to take leaps, said Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington. By combining HuffPost with AOL's network of sites, thriving video initiative, local focus, and international reach, we know we'll be creating a company that can have an enormous impact, reaching a global audience on every imaginable platform.

Huffington will run a new group within AOL responsible for integrating content between the two companies in the news, tech, women and other sectors.

The deal, $300 million of which to be paid in cash, is expected to close in the first half of 2011.