Report: AOL Looking Into Possible Yahoo Merger

NEW YORK (AP) – AOL Inc. has hired financial advisers to look into strategic options that could include a combination with Yahoo Inc., according to a newspaper report.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that AOL’s advisers have been presenting various scenarios to the company about possible ways the two could combine operations. It cited unidentified people familiar with the matter.

The report said AOL has not yet reached out to Yahoo Inc. with a formal proposal and the two are not in formal discussions.

This is not the first time the Journal has floated a possible AOL-Yahoo combination. Last month, it reported that AOL was in preliminary talks with a group of leveraged buyout firms, including Silver Lake Partners and Blackstone Group LP, about making a joint bid for Yahoo.

Yahoo had no comment. A representative for AOL did not return a message for comment Monday morning.

If AOL does buy Yahoo, it will need help doing so, since its market cap of $2.7 billion is just a fraction of Yahoo’s $21.9 billion. Even so, the deal is likely to be much smaller than the $47.5 billion offer from Microsoft that Yahoo snubbed in 2008.

New York-based AOL’s shares rose 36 cents to $25.28 in morning trading Monday while Sunnyvale-based Yahoo’s shares added 19 cents to $16.46.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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