A decade after co-founding the news site that bears hername, Arianna Huffington is poised to expand her media empirewith a startup focused on health and wellness.

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Read: Wellness plans increaseengagement

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Huffington, 65, has held talks with investors about a newmedia company called Thrive, said people familiar with the matter.It plans to provide lifestyle content contributed bycelebrities and bloggers, and provide wellness consulting servicesto companies, said the people, who asked not to be namedbecause the discussions are private.

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Thrive is considering various business models,including advertising-supported content, conferences, andsubscription-based wellness programs aimed at companies, the peoplesaid. Thrive plans to arrange classes for corporateclients to improve their employees' well-being andproductivity, while helping them retain talent, one of thepeople said.

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Read: 4 components of financial wellnessprograms

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Jack Ma, co-founder and chairman of Chinese online shoppinggiant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., has agreed to back Thrive,the people said. Lerer Hippeau Ventures, whichwas started by a Huffington Post co-founder and a former chiefexecutive officer of the publication, has also pledged to invest inThrive, the people said.

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Huffington didn't immediately have a comment. Alibaba and LererHippeau declined to comment.

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Huffington helped start the Huffington Post in 2005, relying ona similar model of celebrity contributors, staff journalists, andfreelancer writers to draw millions of readers. AOL bought theHuffington Post for $315 million in 2011, and the brandbecame a key part of Verizon Communications Inc.'s mediastrategy when it acquired AOL last year.

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Read: How to sneak wellness into yourcompany

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Verizon has given Huffington permission to pursue the newventure while staying with the company, where she serves aspresident and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post, peoplefamiliar with the matter said. Caroline Campbell, a spokeswoman forAOL, declined to comment. Verizon shares dropped 0.5 percentat the close in New York.

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In 2014, Huffington authored a book called Thrive: TheThird Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life ofWell-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder, which promotes the need forrest and work-life balance. In April, she published afollow-up, The Sleep Revolution. In addition towriting and appearing regularly on television and at conferences,Huffington joined the board of directors at Uber Technologies Inc.this year.

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