AOL CEO Tim Armstrong concedes that the mergers and acquisitions strategy that his company spent $9 billion on in the last decade didn't, as he put it, make much sense.
Amstrong said, during a discussion at the Paley Center's 2010 International Council conference moderated by Bloomberg TV's Betty Liu Thursday in New York, that while AOL will continue making acquisitions, the company must follow a limited strategy focused on building content and advertising scale.
"Our key strategy is content. The vast majority of Internet usage at this point is related to content, and we are building significant brands," he said. "We're the largest Internet company that has a universal strategy in terms of partnering with other companies. Facebook, Google, Yahoo are partners of ours. So you probably are on AOL properties without realizing you're there."
Liu steered the M&A topic towards recent rumors about the possibility of merger discussions with Yahoo. Despite her persistence, Armstrong remained resolute in his response.
"I'm not going to comment on Yahoo," he said, adding, however, that Yahoo and AOL are partnered in areas, and that the companies maintain a friendly relationship. "If we can find a way to expand the reach of our content and our advertising, we'll look at it. But the stuff in the press about Yahoo, there is nothing active now."
When Liu pressed if the reports were nonetheless accurate, Armstrong replied, "It depends what you're reading."