AOL talks with Microsoft, Yahoo heat up: source

mercoledì 16 luglio 2008 07:11

By Kenneth Li

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Time Warner Inc's (TWX.N: Quotazione) discussions to merge or sell its AOL Internet division with Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: Quotazione) or Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O: Quotazione) have taken on new urgency ahead of Yahoo's Aug 1 shareholders meeting, a source familiar with the discussions told Reuters on Tuesday.

The structure of any deal is not immediately clear, though a combination of any of the parties is expected to redraw the landscape for advertising on the Internet.

Sources had said earlier that a deal with Yahoo would likely involve merging AOL with the Web pioneer, with Time Warner taking a minority stake in the combined company. A deal with Microsoft would likely be a sale of AOL, the sources said.

Time Warner and Microsoft declined comment. A representatives of Yahoo was not immediately available.

Time Warner's talks come after Microsoft's buyout talks with Yahoo fell apart, with Microsoft withdrawing its $47.5 billion bid in May. Since then the two have waged a public war of words.

Discussions with Time Warner have accelerated as both Yahoo and Microsoft view AOL as potentially beneficial to leverage their positions in the Internet marketplace, where Google Inc dominates.

AOL plans to split its dial-up Internet business and has focused on building a one-stop online advertising shop over the past two years.

Yahoo's interest in AOL is designed to show shareholders that it could grow without Microsoft.   Continua...

<p>The AOL offices in Beverly Hills, California are pictured November 12, 2007. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>