Microsoft, Yahoo Antsy Over AOL

    July 16, 2008

Time Warner’s negotiations to merge or sell its AOL Internet division to Microsoft or Yahoo have become more urgent ahead of Yahoo’s pivotal shareholder meeting on August 1.

The structure of any possible deal has not been disclosed, but if some type of merger does happen it is expected to change the balance of power for advertising online.


Sources indicated earlier that a deal with Yahoo would probably involve merging AOL with Yahoo and Time Warner taking a minority stake in the combined company, Reuters reported. A deal with Microsoft would probably be a sale of AOL.

Talks with Time Warner have been stepped up as both Yahoo and Microsoft view AOL as a valuable asset to strengthen their positions in search advertising where Google reigns.

AOL plans to divide its dial-up Internet business and has been working on developing a comprehensive online advertising business over the last two years.

Yahoo’s interest in AOL is aimed at pleasing shareholders and signaling that it can grow without Microsoft.

Microsoft’s interest in purchasing AOL is part of its strategy to expand its display advertising business and to attract more traffic to lessen Yahoo’s and Google’s position.