AOL (TWX) and Yahoo (YHOO) came close enough to merging last fall that executives from each company’s media groups spent two days planning an eventual integration, says a source with knowledge of the meetings.
AOL president and COO Ron Grant and new MediaGlow president Bill Wilson attended.
Negotiations between the companies had reached a point where attending executives from both companies assumed the deal would get done.
But eventually, AOL’s top executives “got pissed off” as Yahoo chairman Roy Bostock and CEO Jerry Yang wavered on whether to pull the trigger. When Yang announced he would step down from CEO, Bostock at first figured he’d complete the AOL deal anyway, but eventually decided not to saddle a new CEO with a deal not of his or her doing.
How did executives decide an AOL-Yahoo would look? One exec familar with the talks said the meetings ended with plans to merge the best niche sites from each company, keeping two brands when necessary, but with deep cuts to staffing — mostly on the AOL side.