AOL gussies up for potential sale, but who's buying?

AOL is shutting down XDrive, AOL Pictures and other properties in a belt tightening move that may indicate the company is setting itself up to be sold. The larger question: Who will buy AOL from Time Warner?

AOL is shutting down XDrive, AOL Pictures and other properties in a belt tightening move that may indicate the company is setting itself up to be sold. The larger question: Who will buy AOL from Time Warner?

According to a memo posted by TechCrunch, AOL executive vice president Kevin Conroy outlined a reorg that sunsetted some properties and rejiggered others. Changes affect everything from MyAOL to MyMobile to AOL's video portal.

As Rafat Ali noted at PaidContent it sure seems like AOL is dressing itself up for a sale. Then again, AOL may have to make these moves anyway given the outlook for display advertising.

The next logical question is who wants to buy AOL. With the Yahoo proxy settlement with investor Carl Icahn a lot of the urgency to do a deal with AOL has gone away. Time Warner had a chance to unload AOL since both Microsoft and Yahoo were interested in the network to use as leverage. With thoughts of Microhoo all but dead, AOL's two primary buyers are gone.

Microsoft may do a deal with AOL, but a partnership doesn't advance the search ball for the software giant. Would Yahoo acquire AOL? Maybe. Yahoo would get almost every ad network that's not Google on the planet, but what's the upside?

In other words, AOL is dressing up for the prom, but no one has asked it for a date.

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