Remember Rupert Murdoch’s interest in rolling MySpace/Fox Interactive into Yahoo (YHOO)? It hasn’t gone away, Reuters reminds us.
That’s not how Reuters’ Ken Li plays it in his story, published Sunday afternoon, which cites a single source saying that News Corp.’s talks with Yahoo have “cooled” recently. But that also means that talks — which date back to February — haven’t actually died.
What does that mean? Nothing, quite possibly. The deal that News Corp. (NWS) was trying to pull off — injecting MySpace and the rest of its Web properties, along with a slug of cash (presumably from a private equity source) into Yahoo in exchange for equity — was always a long shot. The fact that the two sides kept talking doesn’t make it more likely. And Jerry and company can’t be pleased that Rupert also talked to Microsoft about joing its Yahoo bid.
But! As Ken points out, Yahoo is under at least as much pressure to do… something as it was when Microsoft (MSFT) was bidding for the company. Might Rupe take advantage of that weakness now?
Why not? He’s already indicated his willingness to sell off/roll up MySpace twice this year. But by that same logic, he might look to strike up a pact with Steve Ballmer, who may well be in the market for a large website: In his Thursday interview with the WSJ, Ballmer cited AOL (which he may already be bidding for), MySpace and Facebook as potential bulking-up alternatives to Yahoo.
We’ll get some kind of answer by Wednesday afternoon at the latest — that’s when News Corp. announces Q3 results. Rupert’s earnings call are always entertaining and informative, and this one should be no exception.