AOL has struck deals to acquire two small start-up companies focused on local online media, Patch Media Corp and Going Inc, ahead of its separation from Time Warner Inc.
AOL's new chief executive, Tim Armstrong, was an early investor in Patch Media, which was founded in 2007 and concentrates on news and information through a series of local community sites or patches. In a memo to staff, Armstrong said he would forego any profit on his investment.
Going, founded in 2006, offers young adults information on events and happenings in 30 U.S. cities.
Armstrong said in a statement that he planned to make local search a core area of focus and investment for AOL, citing estimates that show local search growing far faster than overall search.
AOL, which is expected to become an independent company around the end of this year, did not release financial details of either deal in Thursday's announcement.
AOL has been struggling to keep pace in the broader Web search business, which is increasingly dominated by Google Inc. In the last three years, AOL's share of the U.S. search market has dropped to around 4 percent from nearly 12 percent.
Time Warner has yet to announce a date or method for the separation of AOL.
(Reporting by Paul Thomasch; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)