AOL Retains Allen & Co. — What's With the Crack Advisory Team?

Flagging internet company has hired two big players in mergers and acquisitions business, but insists that there's no deal on the table

Adweek may have gotten a pretty good scoop on AOL regarding a possible merger, acquisition, transaction or any other word ending in "–tion."

Ki Mae Huessner writes that AOL has retained two prominent players in the mergers and acquisitions business — a law firm, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, and an investment bank, Allen & Co. LLC.

When Huessner pressed AOL about it, CEO Tim Armstrong acknowledged having both companies on retainer, but said there is no deal on the table nor has any deal been proposed.

Well, what does that mean?

That is supposed to be a denial, but it seems like a partial denial. Just because there is no deal on the table does not mean there is not one being discussed, and just because the company's strategy has not changed does not disqualify another company from being involved in it.

Also Read: AOL Announces $250M Stock Buyback Plan After Shares Plummet

As Huessner's story points out, the presence of Wachtell, Lipton founding parter Martin Lipton in the AOL offices “could indicate that a high-level transaction is being discussed.”

The company’s share price has continued to decline since it bought the Huffington Post, leading some to wonder if AOL is for sale.

The company has survived recessions and tech bubbles, but it may be time for an big change.

Whether this means a merger with another company, breaking up AOL or something else is anyone’s guess, but there has to be a compelling reason for keeping this team on retainer.