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AOL’s Interest In Yahoo Advances — A Bit

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The last we heard about Yahoo possibly being in play, there was talk that AOL (NYSE: AOL) might be interested. That interest apparently has become somewhat more formal, as the WSJ says the company has now hired outside strategic advisers in part to look into some sort of tie-up with Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO). The WSJ says at least two previously reported possibilities are apparently still under consideration: Yahoo could spin off its Asian holdings and then combine its operations with AOL or PE firms would buy a stake in a combined AOL-Yahoo.

According to several reports earlier this month, PE firms Silver Lake Partners and Blackstone Group were both interested in picking up Yahoo themselves or joining AOL in a bid, although Blackstone was later said to no longer be interested. Most analysts have put the odds of any deal for Yahoo as low, in part because it would likely take more than $30 billion to buy the company outright, an amount that might not be available.

Yahoo has hired Goldman Sachs to defend against a possible takeover. The WSJ doesn’t name AOL’s advisor, who is apparently also advising the company on other strategic ways to jumpstart its growth. We’re checking with both AOL and Yahoo and will update if we hear anything. Here’s AOL’s statement about the report: “We have a significant strategy and are aggressively executing our plan to build a company for the next phase of the Internet.”