AOL Snares TechCrunch Onstage At Disrupt Conference

It was pure Silicon Valley grandstanding — but entirely fitting for TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington.

Arrington signed an agreement to sell his company to AOL this morning on stage at his confab, TechCrunch Disrupt. The iconic Web titan said he didn’t want to distract from the startups packing the San Francisco Design Center. But of course he did!

Yesterday on peHub, we relayed GigaOm’s report that the deal was in the works, but could fall apart at the last second. Apparently, Arrington and AOL came to terms. AOL chief Tim Armstrong flew overnight to attend the signing and promised a push to increase the tech news presence on AOL. This will include a working partnership among AOL properties, such as Engadget.

He also vowed to give Arrington editorial freedom. “We will try to be as hands off as possible,” Armstrong said. (Apparently Arrington has agreed to remain with AOL for three years.)

The news seemed to go over well at the conference, judging from the cheers. But there was one very un-TechCrunch moment. The news site that urges information transparency was less than transparent about its own dealings.

Asked about the price AOL was willing to pay, Arrington answered: “We’re not going to be disclosing terms of the deal.”