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Forget About Comcast, eBay Buying AOL

Google has the right to force an AOL IPO in July

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If you can’t buy Yahoo, AOL could be a consolation prize for those who won’t be able to challenge Microsoft’s Yahoo bid. It’s not the company everyone thinks will buy it.

Conjecture over a possible deal for AOL has to be tempered a little with reality. No one has made a bid, at least publicly, to date. Google should be the favorite to grab AOL; read on.

Forget About Comcast, eBay Buying AOL

The last time AOL figured in a storyline with Google and Microsoft competing for it came in 2005, when those two companies bid for AOL’s search and advertising business. Google won that in a billion-dollar deal.

New chatter about a possible AOL buy arrived today. The NYT Dealbook blog, citing Pali Research, said after a Microsoft/Yahoo Deal, there wouldn’t be much interest in buying AOL.

Forget About Comcast, eBay Buying AOL

If there were interest, Comcast could be in the very short list of buyers. A $10 billion price tag cited by Pali Research’s Richard Greenfield probably puts that likelihood aside.

Out on the West Coast, the Mercury News ofered eBay as a potential buyer. Considering the troubles eBay had with its Skype purchase, coupled with the existing deals it has with Yahoo. EBay does not appear to be a likely candidate.

Google received a mention by Greenfield, but not for the reason we expected. In July 2008, a provision of Google’s billion-dollar stake in AOL, as noted in a December 2005 8-K filing with the SEC, means Google can require AOL’s holding company to seek an IPO for its shares.

If Time Warner chooses not to reacquire those shares, Google could buy them up and gain control of AOL possibly in five months. That would also give Google the Advertising.com ad server platform as part of the bargain, to complement its DoubleClick acquisition, unless EU officials torpedo that deal.

Forget About Comcast, eBay Buying AOL
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