As Gawker puts it, "It would be a deal of unprecedented irrelevance." Merged or not, "It's not clear how Yahoo, the has-been portal, and AOL, the has-been dial-up service, can ever hope to vanquish Google."
Silver Lake Partners and Blackstone are among those private-equity firms eying Yahoo, which they could go after alone or with AOL, The Journal reports.
According to another rumor, AOL Chief Executive Tim Armstrong is open to the idea of being acquired by Yahoo, while yet another rumor suggests that the private-equity firms could partner with another set of unnamed media companies to buy Yahoo.
Smacking down on all the rumors, The New York Times insists: "A deal is not happening anytime soon." As The Times sees it (perhaps a bit resentful that it didn't break the news), "The trial balloon in the media is coming from a handful of bankers and investors who have tried to gin up interest in a deal for months. And at least a few of the named 'suitors' in The Journal's story, like the Blackstone Group, have already passed on the idea."
"Make no mistake -- there are no definitive offers on the table to do a variety of takeover deals of Yahoo by either private equity moneybags or from big media giants such as News Corp. or smaller Web firms such as AOL," hedges BoomTown's Kara Swisher. "But that does not mean that major players are not circling Yahoo and assessing the situation aggressively."
Back to the main rumor, "A combined Yahoo-AOL would have greater scale to compete in online advertising against industry juggernaut Google," notes The Journal.
Indeed, "The news comes as Yahoo ... struggles to revive its revenue growth under the management of Chief Executive Carol Bartz, and to rebuild its buzz among consumers amid competition from social networking sites such as Facebook," reports Reuters. Likewise, "AOL is keen on gaining scale and snagging content to re-kindle growth."
Meanwhile, : "What happens to the Microsoft-Yahoo search alliance if a deal with AOL actually happens?" -- noting that AOL just renewed its search deal with Google for five years. "It seems to me a potentially thorny legal and financial issue that could become a major obstacle to any successful takeover or merger effort involving the two companies."