Advertising Age asks Barry Diller whether he would be interested in buying AOL. Of course, he says. The hitch: Knowing Barry, he won’t be paying $20 billion.
In fact, as we discussed last week, the only buyer at $20 billion–Time Warner’s purported asking price–is likely to be Microsoft. We think Yahoo is a far superior fit–strategically, operationally, culturally–but we agree with those who say that Time Warner is interested in only one thing here. We believe that this overriding consideration will make Jeff Bewkes’s call with Barry a short one:
Ad Age: There’s still talk that Jeffrey Bewkes could break up Time Warner. Would you ever be interested in AOL?
Mr. Diller: We’ve talked over the years about our interest in AOL and never been able to get Time Warner to engage with us. I’ve always said AOL is great opportunity for somebody. When and if Warner doesn’t want it, I’ll certainly be at the door.
And then I’ll leave in a hurry when I confirm that he’s still hallucinating.
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