updated 08:05 pm EDT, Wed October 13, 2010
AOL exploring chances of buying Yahoo
AOL is in the very early stages of exploring a buyout of Yahoo, a leak this evening indicated. Private equity groups such as Blackstone Group and Silver Lake Partners have considered buying the search engine out but have reportedly talked to AOL about joining on a deal. Prospects mentioned to the WSJ would have China's Alibaba buy back Yahoo's 40 percent stake in its efforts to simplify a merger or even letting the normally much larger Yahoo buy AOL.
None of the talks have involved Yahoo so far and could falter if it turns out that the arrangement would be too complex to set up. The involved companies declined to comment.
A deal between AOL and Yahoo would be designed to fight off Google, whose dominance of ads and search hasn't been successfully opposed by either company on their own. The move may complicate Yahoo's relationship with Microsoft, whose Bing engine now powers Yahoo search, and could also create a conflict between long-serving features like AIM and Yahoo Messenger.