Yahoo and Microsoft step up Time Warner AOL discussions

Companies accelerate their respective deal-making discussions with Time Warner's AOL, as Yahoo heads towards a proxy battle that could potentially lead to the ouster of its current board.

Dawn Kawamoto Former Staff writer, CNET News
Dawn Kawamoto covered enterprise security and financial news relating to technology for CNET News.
Dawn Kawamoto

Updated at 1:36 p.m. PDT with a report on AOL executives meeting with Microsoft.

Yahoo and Microsoft have both accelerated their respective deal-making talks with Time Warner's AOL, as a proxy fight looms less than three weeks away between Yahoo and investor activist Carl Icahn, according to a source familiar with the discussions.

"The ongoing talks between all the companies have recently picked up," said the source.

That may come as no surprise, given that Yahoo over the weekend rejected a sweetened Microsoft offer to buy just its search assets and the board of directors for the Internet pioneer will be up for grabs when Yahoo and Icahn face off at the August 1 annual shareholders meeting.

Specifics about the types of deals that are currently underway in these two separate discussions and the likelihood of an outcome are not clear.

But previously, talks between Yahoo and AOL reportedly involved discussions of Yahoo acquiring AOL and, then, Time Warner taking an investment in Yahoo.

And as noted in the Silicon Alley Insider last month, a Microsoft buyout of AOL could come sooner than later. In fact, Silicon Alley Insider posted this nugget Tuesday that a team from AOL was in Seattle to talk about a potential deal with the software giant.

And a report in Reuters Tuesday was the first to note talks had "heated up" among the three parties.