AOL CEO Sees Opportunity in Working With Companies Such as Yahoo

AOL Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Armstrong said a deal to cooperate with a company like Yahoo! Inc. may make sense, though he wouldn’t comment specifically on reports that AOL could combine with Yahoo.

“In general we are always looking for opportunities to put our execution and strategy on more traffic -- not in relation to Yahoo but just in general,” Armstrong said in a phone interview after his company reported third-quarter earnings. “People see our strategy and where we’re going and I think it’s a natural, no-brainer that you would eventually try to put more traffic under our strategy.”

Armstrong added that he wasn’t speaking specifically about Yahoo and that there is nothing currently under way to add more Web traffic to AOL’s purview.

Last month, Yahoo was working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to help defend against possible takeover approaches, people familiar with the matter said at the time. AOL, based in New York, had talked with private-equity funds including Silver Lake about a possible bid, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks were private.

The preliminary discussions between AOL and the private- equity firms focused on a possible purchase of parts of Yahoo, the people said then. Neither AOL nor the private-equity companies had made a proposal to Yahoo, they said.

AOL, which today reported that third-quarter profit more than doubled, rose $1.56, or 6.2 percent, to $26.85 at 10:17 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares had gained 8.6 percent this year before today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Rabil in New York at srabil@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net

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