Dumb and dumber money

Good grief: There’s now a friggin’ stampede to invest in AOL.

Yahoo Inc. is in early talks about buying a stake in Time Warner Inc.’s America Online unit, according to people familiar with the situation.

Yahoo joins a long list of suitors who have expressed an interest in AOL, including Microsoft Corp., Google Inc. and Comcast Corp. A person close to the situation says that Yahoo is interested in luring AOL users to its search engine.

I shouldn’t say this because I’m a disgruntled Time Warner stockholder and anybody buying this lemon is a good thing. But I feel morally bound to remind the world that AOL is a nightmare from which there is no waking up.

  • Mumblix Grumph

    What the hell? Are people getting nostalgic for the good ol’ dot-com boom of the 90’s?

    Maybe I can finally unload all that Pets.com stock!

  • But is it a pump-and-dump-able nightmare? :-)

  • Allen

    Jeff — You’ve done your duty by sounding the “buyer beware” signal. Now, shut up and let them swarm. I too am holding from days gone by.

  • Ted

    Check out their ad biz turnaround… the company actually IS viable again…

  • Hey — from one AOL..sorry..TWX..shareholder/ex-employee to another — the best chance of TWX stock going up is a change in the perception of AOL by the market. The $8B in revenues AOL brings to the party contributes a chunk of bottom line for these guys — would be nice to get a nice Web 2.0 multiplier going…

    Now, the chances of those sour grapes fermenting into anything worth drinking are somewhat remote for those of us holding since the 90’s, but this is exactly the kind of thing we’re going to need for things to be good here.

    Besides, almost everyone involved in the initial transaction has had their Shakespearean stage exit already — visiting the sins of the father unto the sons is what you’re left with today…

  • Well, Time Warner has done nothing with AOL (with the exception of rotating that little triangle 90 degrees clockwise). Hell, they’ve even kept Road Runner and AOL separate. Yahoo and Google have made a boatload of cash on the Internet, and Microsoft ain’t too shabby. These are companies that know how to handle the web; Time Warner has always done very well with its magazines and movie studios, not to mention networks and cable stations. Read: Old media. TW took a floater and left it in the pooper. These other companies might actually know what to do with the pieces of AOL they want.

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  • Three letters: AIM

  • Don’t get me wrong, I hate AOL. But from a ground view, there are still *metric tons* of people who use and rely on AOL. I can imagine a Google-AOL teaming would actually be quite a powerhouse.

    AOL might have been a bad investment for Time-Warner at the time, but Time-Warner didn’t seem to have any forward-thinking imagination about what to *do* with AOL. They *let* it become an albatross around their neck. A smarter company will exploit AOL’s potential.

  • EverKarl

    I’ve mentioned it before — the search engine dollars attached to AOL traffic makes a Google-Yahoo tussle inevitable. It’s just a matter of how rational the parties are in valuing those dollars going forward.

  • JH

    Methinks this is an effort by Yahoo to drive up the price paid by Google/Comcast or Microsoft.