Yahoo is latest Net power to covet AOL’s Web portal

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week AOL’s talks with Microsoft have been ongoing since late spring, while the other suitors emerged after word of them leaked in mid-September, the person said. Time Warner is insisting on a controlling stake in any deal, the person said. Shares of Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo rose 15 cents, or 0.45 percent, to close at $33.52 Friday on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Time Warner shares increased 41 cents, or 2.33 percent, to close at $18 on the New York Stock Exchange. The interest in AOL comes as the company transforms itself from a declining business focused on providing dial-up access to a free content provider able to tap the recent boom in online advertising. Late last year, AOL abandoned its longtime strategy of exclusivity and began making its rich offerings – including concerts, news, sports and e-mail – available through AOL.com for free, a model Yahoo drove to become the Web’s top brand. The Web portal side of AOL’s business is worth about $11.3 billion, based largely on AOL’s advertising potential, media analyst Michael Nathanson at Sanford C. Bernstein estimated in a research note. NEW YORK – Yahoo Inc. is considering buying a stake in America Online Inc., joining other Internet powerhouses interested in the company’s Web portal, a person close to the talks said Friday. The discussions were described as preliminary and not as advanced as separate talks that AOL parent Time Warner Inc. has had with Microsoft Corp. and Google Inc., which is considering a joint bid with Comcast Corp. News Corp. has also expressed interest, but those discussions have largely ended, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the release of information was not authorized. The Yahoo-AOL discussions were first reported by TheStreet.com. According to Nielsen/NetRatings, Yahoo had 99.3 million visitors in September, a figure that would have grown to 120 million with the AOL properties. AOL trails Yahoo as well as MSN and Google with 72.5 million. Rob Enderle, an industry analyst, said Yahoo’s interest in AOL appears defensive. “It’s more of a block,” he said. “They are less interested in getting it themselves. They are more interested in crippling Google.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more