Throughout most of the 1990s, it would be pretty easy to figure out why anyone would want to purchase AOL, then a thriving online entity. But in 2010? We just don't see the draw. That doesn't mean no one else does, and according to Business Insider's Nicholas Carlson, insider sources have been chirping that AOL is in negotiations with Microsoft about a buyout.
This isn't the first time AOL has been mentioned as a potential acquisition target in recent times. In 2008, Yahoo came close to purchasing AOL before talks between the two companies broke down. Could Microsoft realistically be picking up where Yahoo left off?
"While there is strong strategic rationale behind such a deal, [it] doesn't seem likely," said Clayton Moran, an analyst for Benchmark Co., in an interview with Reuters. "We think Time Warner pursued a sale of AOL prior to spinning it out and wasn't able to find an interested enough buyer."
Then again, Microsoft is doing everything it can to improve its position in the search market game, and acquiring AOL would certainly help, even if the $2 billion to $3 billion asking price is a bit steep.