Rumours have been swirling around for the last few months about a possible sale or partnership between AOL and a big Internet firm.
At the time, the companies vying for this partnership included Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Comcast. However, when Yahoo and Comcast removed themselves from the negotiations, it appeared that Microsoft was the new front runner. With a massive bank account and with the most to gain from such a partnership, it seemed like only a matter of days before the deal was announced.
If Microsoft were to sign the deal, it would be a significant blow to Google, who already receives about 10% of its search queries from AOL. But late Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Google has now become the sole runner in the deal that could see them taking a 5% stake (approx. US$1 billion) in AOL, boosting AOL’s value to some US$20 billion.
The news sent Google’s shares soaring to a new high of $432.50/share. Although the deal has still not been formally announced, an announcement is expected sometime this week. Should Time Warner confirm that it has in fact entered into an agreement with Google, it would be another blow to Microsoft, who has been eagerly trying to catch up to Google in the online advertising field.