Time Warner’s conversations about selling a minority stake in AOL has attracted an intriguing pair of potential investors: Google and Comcast.
Sources confirmed a Wall Street Journal report that the web search giant approached Comcast about a joint bid for part of AOL’s portal earlier this month. They started conversations with Time Warner late last week. The companies are talking only about a minority stake in AOL’s web portal accessible by Web users, not the subscription Internet access business, which is troubled and shrinking in the face of cheap broadband access.
An alliance between Comcast and Google is intriguing since each company is trying to figure out how video will play out on the Web. Google is attempting to establish a video site, both searching for video and actually distributing programming. Comcast, as the largest cable operator, is the country’s largest licensor of programming and has 8 million high-speed Internet subscribers. But the cable operator hasn’t figured out how to establish a web video business either.
AOL owner Time Warner has been having similar conversations with Microsoft. Time Warner and Comcast would not comment. A Google spokesman would not comment on "rumored conversations", saying only that "Google and AOL have a healthy global partnership and AOL remains a valued partner."