Tim Armstrong, the chief executive of AOL, is finally winding down Patch, a network of local news sites that he helped invent and that AOL bought after he took over.

At a conference in Manhattan last week, Mr. Armstrong suggested that Patch’s future could include forming partnerships with other companies, an acknowledgment that AOL could not continue to go it alone in what has been a futile attempt to guide Patch to profitability. He called it, somewhat hilariously, “an asset with optionality."

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