Yahoo denies any new developments with Time Warner over AOL
With Microsoft out of the picture in any future deal with Yahoo, there has been speculation over someone else potentially filling the void. But a news story yesterday made it seem like that void was being filled, and Yahoo is disputing it.
Late yesterday, following a meeting of Yahoo's board of directors, the Financial Times published a story citing someone its reporter called "one person familiar with the company's thinking" as revealing that some type of hurdle had been cleared precluding a future deal between Yahoo and Time Warner over the latter's AOL unit.
This morning, Yahoo spokesperson Brad Williams told BetaNews that there has actually been no change in the negotiating status between Yahoo and Time Warner. While Williams declined to comment on what was specifically discussed in the boardroom, as well as who was doing the discussing, it's likely that new major Yahoo shareholder and board member Carl Icahn was present during yesterday's meeting.
The FT story tried to link Icahn's presence to some sort of deal being made, rather than the simple fact that he is a Yahoo board member. While Williams would not deny that discussions including Icahn may have touched on the subject of AOL at some point, he reiterated to BetaNews that the state of affairs after the board meeting concluded was the same regarding Time Warner as it was going into the meeting.
It was Yahoo that brought AOL into at least the public discussion of prospective merger partners to start with, if not also the closed-doors discussion. Last April, in an effort which succeeded in both elevating Yahoo's speculative value and tying it to another party which has its own ties to Google, floated the AOL topic around as something which could be spun off by Time Warner, and then repurchased partly by Time Warner, partly by Yahoo. It could perhaps have been the ultimate poison pill, if Yahoo chose to use it, mainly because Yahoo would not have had to swallow it whole.