For those not watching the growing battle between AOl and Tech Crunch founder Michael Arrington, the basics are AOL acquired Tech Crunch last year for $30 million and now Arrington wants out.
He issued a public ultimatum via Tech Crunch saying that AOL should fully restore Tech Crunch's editorial independence or sell Tech Crunch back to him.
There's a lot more to this, but given the amount of coverage it's getting I won't bother to rehash. For example, see this LA Times article for a good summary.
On a broader level this is a great example of what often happens when founders sell their company.
The reality of selling a business is you trade control of the company for money. Founders get money, buyers gets control. And no matter what's said or heard (often two different things) during the acquisition process, at some point the new owner will exert control.
Founders, who are almost always extremely passionate about the business, are often very unhappy when this happens.
At the same time, buyers - especially larger companies like AOL - are stunned founders don't understand the realities of selling their business and what it means to be part of a larger enterprise.
I've been on both sides. I've been acquired 4 times and participated in the acquisitions of dozens of companies. I've learned a lot about how to acquire companies and how to deal with founders. Based on what I've read, AOL did not do a great job with this acquisition.
But the main lesson I've learned is company founders can either have the money and give up control, or keep control and not get the money.
There are exceptions to this, but they're not common.