Microsoft is desperate to make some sort of deal and has almost no choice but to buy AOL from Time Warner, the WSJ tells us:
“Microsoft Revs Up Talks With AOL” – The talks highlight Microsoft’s limited options without Yahoo, which last week rejected a new proposal from Microsoft to buy Yahoo’s Internet-search business. To remain competitive in online advertising, Microsoft needs to quickly expand its footprint on the Internet, but there are a limited number of large Internet companies or operations to buy.
What a terrible negotiating position! Luckily, there’s an easy way for Microsoft to improve its leverage: Read a different paper, like the NYT:
“Little Interest In Buying AOL As Unit Is Shopped Again” – Time Warner has signaled a renewed interest in a possible transaction, according to executives at all three companies who have been briefed on the discussions. Both Microsoft and Yahoo continue to listen to ideas from Time Warner, the executives said, but neither company appeared to be especially interested at this point. Microsoft and Yahoo seem to be focused on their talks with each other.