Perhaps the folks in Fremont are pondering the same question this morning. Yahoo, who more than any other company personifies the web portal concept and helped define web 1.0, is in turmoil. Faced with an ever-eroding share of the search ad market, the company finds itself in survival mode. After being shunned by the boys at YouTube, who favored a deal with Google instead, the company is now setting its sites elsewhere. But is looking East, towards VA-based AOL the answer? Most pundits would say definitely not.
Late on their next-generation ad serving system, and plagued with integration problems from its most recent acquisitions, can Yahoo actually be considering a mamouth purchase of their long-time nemesis AOL? That’s the buzz around the web – from Fortune to the blogosphere and beyond.
In my experience with Yahoo, never underestimate Terry Semel’s ability to change the playing field. But would this acquisition actually change anything, except add an abundance of debt, bloated infrastructure and bad content to its stable? Only time will tell.
The irony here folks is that Google stands to gain the most if this acquisition actually goes through. Remember a little over a year ago, Google purchased a billion-dollar stake in the ailing Time Warner unit, in part, to secure their ad inventory for the next five years. The result, a 5% equity stake for the Googlers. Considering that price gave AOL a $20-billion valuation one year ago, let’s see what, if any, the purchase price brings Google today.
It seems to me that Yahoo is better off spending its money on improving ways to monetize their content, rather than acquiring more content. But, then again, Yahoo’s recent lift in the market suggests that many take an opposite viewpoint. And, one thing is for sure, the company can not stay the course and choose to sit by idlly while Google continues to dominate the field. Stay tuned, it’s going to get interesting.