Updates to this story
AOL may be closer to making a bid for Yahoo, with reports surfacing that it has hired external advisors to help it make its decision.
The potential acquisition was first revealed in October, when it came to light that preliminary negotiations between the two companies were underway.
AOL is substantially smaller than Yahoo and has less money at its disposal, which makes the buyout seem unlikely on the surface, but the Wall Street Journal reported that several major investors, including Silver Lake Partners and the Blackstone Group are willing to put up the funds to back an AOL takeover.
This is likely to be a major topic for discussion with the new advisors, who are said to be helping AOL officials garner how feasible it is to launch a bid for Yahoo. Anonymous sources close to the meetings also indicate that the advisers are presenting alternative options to AOL, should a takeover of Yahoo be deemed unfeasible.
Both companies are keeping tight-lipped, but some slips of the tongue have emerged that suggest a takeover is definitely being considered.
AOL's CEO, Tim Armstrong, indicated that a “partnership” between the two companies would be mutually beneficial, but refused to comment frther.
“I can’t comment on rumours and I can’t talk about hypotheticals. I’m not allowed to, nor should I as CEO,” Carol Bartz said. The choice of words “not allowed to” suggests a legal gag might be in place, which is usually the procedure in negotiating contracts behind the scenes.