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

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?

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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

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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6 comments
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  • RE: Sharks circling on AOL? M&A meetings underway, report says

    I don't get it. Why would anyone want to own AOL?
    Robert Hahn
    • RE: Sharks circling on AOL? M&A meetings underway, report says

      @Robert Hahn
      Because they still make money.
      x I'm tc
      • Making unmoney

        Not lately. They lost $11 million in Q2.
        Robert Hahn
    • RE: Sharks circling on AOL? M&A meetings underway, report says

      @Robert Hahn
      This reminds me of the old story about the NYC garbage strikes in the Sixties, where somebody wrapped their garbage like a birthday present and left in in an unlocked car. When they came back, their garbage was gone ...
      terry flores
      • RE: Sharks circling on AOL? M&A meetings underway, report says

        @terry flores ha :) good one
        iguanaware
  • RE: Sharks circling on AOL? M&A meetings underway, report says

    Waves @
    Between the Lines
    Larry Dignan, Andrew Nusca and Rachel King,Not much to read @ Andrew but a topic worthy of gossiping about , Aol ran off all their customers towards the end out of desperation they attempted what is know as the " streisand effect" . Not letting people out of a contract , charging people anything they wanted to.Armstrong was a idiot! At one time aol had the cream of the crop with the elderly 'All old life~ers ' who has real money and Aol just threw it away.
    iguanaware