AOL Inc has acquired the TechCrunch network of sites, which include the popular startup blog TechCrunch (with sites for Europe, , mobile blog MobileCrunch, gadget sites CrunchGear, enterprise tech site TechCrunch IT, Tech company database Crunchbase, GreenTech, TechCrunch TV and a series of conferences, including TechCrunch 50, The Crunchies Awards and TechCrunch Disrupt (where the announcement was made). TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington explains why TechCrunch sold to AOL here, saying it was primarily because of technology problems, and as a content business, having to manage engineers. There’s also synergy with sales and business teams, but there are competing properties in TechCrunch. Arrington will remain with TechCrunch for at least 3 years.
(The announcement video after the jump)

The acquisition price has not been disclosed, but since AOL is a listed company, it will probably have to be disclosed in its SEC filing. Speculation puts the acquisition amount at around $25 million. A couple of years ago, the PaidContent network* was acquired by the Guardian Media Group for a reported (albeit unconfirmed) $30 million. TechCrunch wasn’t funded, but other blog networks like the VentureBeat network and the GigaOm Network are.

Now, from an India perspective, TechCrunch execs Sarah Lacy has visited India a couple of times over the last one year, looking for writers covering the India market for TechCrunch; we haven’t interacted, but several Indian industry execs who have spoken with her said that there is/was a TechCrunch Asia being planned, and for India to be a key component of that. We don’t know what happens to that, post the AOL acquisition, but AOL has significantly scaled down its operations in India, with began with its VP (International) Maneesh Dhir moving out Feb 2009; Head of Ad Sales Tarun Sobhani has since joined Group Buying startup Deals And You, and Dhiman Mukherji was recently appointed Director (Ad Sales) at LinkedIn India.

TechCrunch is AOL’s second key blog network acquisition, after it acquired Weblogs Inc in October 2005. Weblogs Inc, now integrated with AOL News, includes popular blogs Engadget, JoyStiq, TUAW, DownloadSquad and Switched; TechCrunch, known for being boisterous, is expected to retain its editorial independence.

Disclosure: Prior to founding MediaNama I was heading ContentSutra, the Indian site of the PaidContent network.