Sharks circling on AOL? M&A meetings underway, report says

Summary:AOL executives are meeting with two top firms in mergers and acquisitions, according to an AdWeek report. Are the sharks circling on the beleaguered company?

AOL is meeting with -- and has on retainer -- "two of the biggest names in mergers and acquisitions," according to an AdWeek report.

Ki Mae Heussner reports that top-ranking representatives from law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and investment banking company Allen & Company met with AOL executives at the company's Manhattan offices on Wednesday.

Among them: Wachtell founding partner Martin Lipton and Allen & Co. managing director Nancy Peretsman.

AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong reportedly denied that any specific deals were underway, but the meeting suggests that merger and acquisition-themed talks are happening nonetheless -- perhaps to bolster the weakening company's defenses against private equity firms, Heussner suggests.

Armstrong continues his work to try to turn around the beleaguered company, whose acquisition of the Huffington Post was high-profile but an anchor on the company's share price and investor confidence.

The possibilities for AOL:

  • Private equity financing: gives those firms a seat at the digital content table
  • Breakup: separates the wheat from the chaff
  • Merger: the company still makes money and its online presence looms large
  • Invest: Go long and hope that content+ads can weather a down economy

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Topics: Banking, Enterprise Software


Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. He is also the former editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation. He writes about business, technology and design now but used to cover finance, fashion and culture. He was an intern at Money, Men's Vogue, Popular Mechanics and the New York Daily Ne... Full Bio

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