Microsoft-Yahoo saga pulls in AOL, News Corp.

Wed, 07/16/2008 - 8:05am
Brian Santo

Time Warner Inc. is exploring with Microsoft and Yahoo several possible different deals to finally get rid of its AOL operation, according to multiple reports.

Yahoo is holding an election for its board of directors on Aug. 1. Investor Carl Icahn has proposed a slate of candidates who, if they win, have pledged to forge a deal with Microsoft.

The imminence of the election for Yahoo’s board leaves little time for anyone else interested in working with Yahoo or Microsoft – Time Warner and perhaps News Corp. – to finalize any other possible deal, which is lending impetus and urgency to discussions among everyone involved.

If Yahoo and Time Warner were to cut a deal, they would likely merge Yahoo with AOL, with Time Warner taking a minority stake in the combined company. If Time Warner and Microsoft were to strike a deal, it would likely be an outright sale of AOL, according to sources quoted by Reuters.

Any deal with News Corp. would involve merging News Corp.’s MySpace operation with the partner’s Web search and advertising technology. The Wall Street Journal, also owned by News Corp., has previously reported that News Corp. is involved with negotiations only to monitor the situation.

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