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Yahoo in talks to buy AOL stake

Luring AOL customers to Yahoo's search engine may be part of the attraction

Yahoo is the latest in a series of companies looking to purchase a stake in AOL.

Neither company is commenting, but Yahoo and Time Warner - AOL's parent company - are allegedly in preliminary talks about a possible deal. Yahoo is interested in luring AOL users to its search engine.

Lately AOL has been much sought after by technology companies looking to beef up their online media and services businesses. In addition to Yahoo, Microsoft, Comcast and Google have all expressed interest in buying a portion of the company, according to recent reports.

Though all the companies have their reasons for wanting a stake in AOL, the competition itself is becoming reason enough to join the fray, said Joe Wilcox, a senior analyst at Jupiter Research.

"Because the suitors are all competitors, it's become a case of not just what AOL might do for me, but how AOL might hurt me if one of my competitors gets them," he said.

Analysts said all the companies courting AOL are mainly interested in its popular online portal, the content of which will help drive advertising revenue. "You get the eyeballs, you make the money," Wilcox said.

Like Yahoo, Google and Microsoft's MSN division also would garner more advertising revenue by driving AOL's substantial user base to their search engines, he added.


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