AOL executives on Wednesday met with two mergers-and-acquisitions heavyweights–-law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, and investment-banking company Allen & Company--that it has retained, Adweek reports.
The Internet and media company's CEO, Tim Armstrong, denied that a proposed deal was on the table, and he would not say whether there are any ongoing discussions about a merger or acquisition. But he told Adweek in an e-mail, "Both parties are on retainer with us and we work with them. Our strategy hasn't changed, and we are moving faster than ever on it."
Dulles, Va.-based AOL has been working to turn around the company’s tanking stock prices since it acquired The Huffington Post in February. It has been rumored that AOL might merge with Yahoo!, although someone close to the company told Adweek that such talk is just a tactic to raise share prices.
“Any rumors to the fact that a major media company would be interested in AOL at this point are purely being floated by bankers to raise the price,” said an unnamed digital-media executive close to people at the company. “Inside of AOL, I would guess ... all options are on the table.”
Adweek says that breaking apart the company to sell off the pieces could be a lucrative move, with entities such as Advertising.com worth $200 million, according to some estimates, and the Internet service section worth $1.5 billion.