(Reuters) - Influential U.S. online publisher Huffington Post Media Group has teamed up with L'Espresso on an Italian edition.

L'Huffington Post Italia has started to hire editorial staff and will launch this year, according to a joint statement on Thursday.

L'Espresso publishes la Repubblica, which competes with Corriere della Sera to be the country's top-selling newspaper, and is Italy's leading online information site.

The Huffington Post, purchased by AOL for $315 million last February, has launched sites in Canada and Britain.

The French edition of the U.S. news and opinion website, to be directed by the wife of former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, will announce its launch on Monday.