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Quick Hits: Can Time Warner Save Yahoo?


Brief scrutiny of today's headlines.


Yahoo (YHOO) agreed to a new round of discussions with Time Warner (TWX), the Financial Times reports.

Yahoo's board of directors approved the discussions over the future of Time Warner's AOL unit, a move that could restart talks for a combination of the 2 Internet businesses.

Talks stalled earlier this year after Yahoo looked for a way to avoid an unsolicited takeover bid from Microsoft (MSFT).

However, the Financial Times says "active deal negotiations" aren't underway in the new round of talks.

Jeff Bewkes, Time Warner's chief executive, said he hoped to make a decision about AOL's future "fairly soon," though he didn't give a timetable.

Approval for the new talks came as Yahoo's directors met for the first time since investor Carl Icahn was granted access to the boardroom. Icahn, former Viacom head Frank Biondi, and former Nextel head Frank Chapple were appointed to the board as part of a deal to avoid a revolt at the Internet company's last shareholder meeting.

Last week, Icahn told CNBC that Yahoo would "have to do something with Microsoft, or Google (GOOG) is going to kill them."

There are no discussions now underway with Microsoft.

One possible plan includes a merger of Yahoo and AOL with Time Warner holding a stake. But nothing new has developed since discussions held just before Yahoo's annual shareholder meeting in August.

Analysts say AOL needs to be combined with Yahoo or Microsoft -- or broken up and sold -- because the sector won't support 4 broadly focused companies.

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