Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes says he’ll have a decision on the future of AOL “soon”. That can’t come fast enough for AOL boss Randy Falco, who we’re told is now fuming about the limbo state his company has entered: “When is New York going to sell us?” we’re told he muttered in earshot of his lieutenants recently.
Meanwhile, Matt Marshall at Venturebeat doesn’t have a timeline, but he does have a theory about who’s going to buy the company: Both Yahoo and Microsoft. Matt’s scenario, which he says Microsoft is “quietly readying” (according to “sources close to AOL”): Yahoo snaps up AOL, then Microsoft buys both companies.
We suppose that’s possible: Our back-of-the envelope maths suggests Steve Ballmer could buy the combined company for something in the $30 billion range, and last winter he was offering $44.6 billion for Yahoo alone. But it seems awfully convoluted to us, and by our reckoning if Ballmer wants AOL and its 4.3% share of search badly enough, he’ll always be able to outbid Jerry and company.
Meanwhile the AOL+ theory doesn’t solve any of the problems that spiked the first Microsoft-Yahoo deal: Jerry didn’t want to sell, and eventually, Steve didn’t want to buy.
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