AOL BUYS THE HUFFINGTON POST…. On Super Bowl Sunday, it turns out the big winner was … Arianna Huffington.

The Huffington Post, which began in 2005 with a meager $1 million investment and has grown into one of the most heavily visited news Web sites in the country, is being acquired by AOL in a deal that creates an unlikely pairing of two online media giants.

The two companies completed the sale Sunday evening and announced the deal just after midnight on Monday. AOL will pay $315 million, $300 million of it in cash and the rest in stock. It will be the company’s largest acquisition since it was separated from Time Warner in 2009. […]

Arianna Huffington, the cable talk show pundit, author and doyenne of the political left, will take control of all of AOL’s editorial content as president and editor in chief of a newly created Huffington Post Media Group. The arrangement will give her oversight not only of AOL’s national, local and financial news operations, but also of the company’s other media enterprises like MapQuest and Moviefone.

Huffington posted an item overnight, sharing her vision, noting, “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.”

It wasn’t too long ago that AOL had created its own HuffPost-like site, Politics Daily, which has done some quality work. At this point, it appears the site will disappear, and its writers will join the Huffington team.

I’m not even close to being an expert on the business of media, but at first blush, this seems like a pretty good deal. The Huffington Post gets an expanded reach, while AOL gets the eyeballs that follow one of the most powerful online news behemoths.

It’s bound to be a better move than that Time Warner deal.

* Disclosure: Though I don’t post often, I’ve been a Huffington Post contributor.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.