Let me preface this post by saying that I have not done any (as in zero) research as to what the financial implications of a merger between Aol and Yahoo would be. I don’t own any stock in either company and really have no interest in the financial aspects of such a merger. Companies appear free to make financials look however they need to anyway as long as they have a lobbyist and a politician (or two or three) on their unofficial payroll. So the idea of Aol and Yahoo merging from a financial perspective means nothing to me.
What is interesting though is the thought of these two companies that are moving along their way like two drunken sailors on leave becoming one. Imagine for a moment the talk in the search industry. Would Bing now become the search partner of Aol despite Aol’s deal with Google? Oooooooh, the drama. Would anyone outside of the search community care or even notice that this was a concern? Not likely but that’s another discussion for another time.
This is not the first time these rumors have surfaced. I would like to see these two merge for purely selfish reasons. There hasn’t been much to talk about or speculate on lately in the Internet industry. There are plenty of press releases and people saying the have the next best thing but that’s just the usual noises in the space. Then, of course, you have the latest “So what?” episode between Aol, Arianna, Michael and company which needs to go away as fast as possible.
But bringing Aol and Yahoo together would be the business equivalent of the struggling couple who can’t seem to make the relationship work but come to the brilliant conclusion that having a child will fix everything. That seems to never end well and this merger wouldn’t either in all likelihood. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t happen though and here are a few thoughts on why.
New leadership faces – Let’s face it, Tim Armstrong is not the guy to be leading Aol. His track record is spotty at best and the news as of late is that most projects he has started like Patch and now, Project Devil, are missing the mark (hey with a name like Project Devil who woulda thunk it wouldn’t go real well?). It’s time for a new leader to try to drag Aol back to Internet respectability. It should be a solid business person with a true business pedigree (one outside of the Internet space preferably) who will surround his or herself with knowledgeable people and make strong business decisions. Instead it will be Arianna Huffington which will be a spectacular train wreck so I am voting for that one!
As for Yahoo’s leadership? That oxymoron’s ship has sailed. Would it even matter at this point?
The world’s largest Internet properties garage sale – Pile the kids into the van and get to this sale early! Anyone who thinks that just taking these two limping entities and mashing them together as they currently exist will result in success is delusional. A merger of these two would be the best time to start auctioning off pieces to the highest bidder and streamlining the product and offering bloat that exists in both companies. Remember that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure so there could be a real cash infusion if parts are sold and overhead slashed to the bone for the two.
The chance of creating real competitors in certain areas – It’s not like these two companies are complete disasters. They each have parts that when combined could make for some interesting possibilities. If for nothing else the content farming business would have a megapower between Aol and Yahoo’s Associated Content. Imagine the level of craptent those two could produce on hourly basis! Woo hoo!
A chance for Aol to bow out gracefully from the dial up era – We don’t talk about it much but Aol is really getting a ton of support from its slowly dying yet highly profitable dial up operation. Hard to believe but this option still exists and it may always be needed in some limited capacity. For Aol to be taken seriously as a new age Internet company it needs to shed the last vestige of its previous heritage and move on to greener Internet pastures.
A chance for Yahoo and Aol to be defined or simply recreated– Ever see some of the answers offered for what Yahoo is? The descriptions often end up sounding like a random sample of Internet buzzwords connected with verbs so that the appearance of a sentence is given. Both Aol and Yahoo are in desperate need of defining and this is the chance to file for brand bankruptcy and start over.
There are always more possibilities as to what could become of a Aolhoo! (try pronouncing that one without feeling dirty) or a Yahaol (once again, I dare you). Heck, since there is nothing but speculation in all of this let your imaginations run wild and consider what might just happen if these two companies who represent the Internet’s version of classic rock music (aging dinosaurs trying to relive the glory days for those of you who missed that one) merged.
Let’s hear it!