AOL for Sale?

Lots of stuff going on in the internet portal, search engine, isp area’s as Microsoft has been reported to be in talks with AOL about a variety of possible combinations of the former’s MSN Internet portal with the latter’s America Online operations, including a merger of the two into a new company that would be jointly owned. This would make it the biggest internet portal, they would have 23% of the total internet searches, and a much better case to put in front of advertisers. It would be win-win for both companies as they compliment each other in many different area’s, Microsoft is strong in many countries while AOL has mainly concentrated on the United States and it would help raise Time Warner’s stock prices. This would also help Microsoft with it’s battle with Google, who it fears could one day maybe compete with it on the OS level.

Now, news.com has reported that Google could make a bid for AOL to protect it’s $380 million in advertising revenue it’s gets AOL.

“We believe it is entirely possible that Google could consider making a bid for AOL as well,” Lauren Rich Fine, an analyst at Merrill Lynch, wrote in a Friday report on the implications of an AOL-Microsoft Network deal. “This would certainly protect Google’s revenues from AOL as well as enable Google to keep 100 percent of the search advertising revenues as well as gain a significant amount of content.”

The Wall Street Journal has reported that AOL may be considering switching its search engine from Google to MSN, which could cut Google’s earnings per share by between 5 percent and 10 percent, the report said. AOL generated about 12 percent of Google’s revenues in 2004, or $382 million.

We are going to see more and more purchases, consolidations, mergers, etc, everyone wants more content nowadays to pull in the advertising eyeballs, whichever site gets the most visitors gets the most money, today, it’s all about the benjamins.

Just noticed this article from news.com, Google invites 400 to ‘off the record’ event.
Google is planning a partner forum for about 400 people, including bloggers and journalists from major media outlets, and is prohibiting participants from writing about it, according to a search engine industry expert.

Probably going to be hard to keep everything out of the press, wonder who’ll spill the beans first?