An reader sent us the following info. We have spoken to two senior sources at AOL who have not heard none of it. We also spoke to a senior source at Time Warner who confirmed some and denied some.
- Major new cuts are coming in many AOL departments (up to 50% expense cuts in some cases). This seems plausible given the advertising environment, though 50% sounds extreme. AOL sources say they have heard nothing about this.
- Randy Falco will be reassigned to HBO by January, possibly earlier. AOL source was surprised by this, and Time Warner source denied it. AOL source also said Randy has seemed very engaged lately.
- Additional consolidation (read: cuts) coming at Platform A. The cuts will ultimately amount to a 40%-60% cut in tech and sales staff. Given AOL’s emphasis on Platform A, the third-party network strategy, and the cuts that have been made already, this strikes us as extreme. Some cuts, sure. 50%? We doubt it. AOL source says it’s b.s.
- AOL-Yahoo merger still moving along. Apparently there is dissent at Yahoo over buyout price. Jeff Bewkes is apparently growing concerned about owning Yahoo stock. All this sounds plausible, in our opinion. If we were Yahoo, we would be very focused on price. If we were Jeff, we would obviously worry about owning Yahoo’s stock. Our senior Time Warner source confirmed that the talks are continuing, but denied both the Yahoo and the Time Warner concerns.
- Microsoft still watching the AOL situation closely, but is remaining on the sidelines. Confirmed.
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