Former AOL Boss Importunes Investors for Yahoo Bid Billions

03 December 2008

LONDON: Jonathan Miller, erstwhile chief executive of AOL, is reportedly on the stump seeking investors'' support for up to $30 billion (€23.58bn; £20.07bn) in funding to acquire Yahoo as a total entity.

Miller is necessarily optimistic – his credibility depends on it – that he can put together a deal that will appeal to Yahoo stockholders, dangling an offer of between $20 to $22 a share.

Miller himself is saying nothing. Nor Yahoo. Likewise Microsoft.

But the rumor mill is, as ever, only too happy to gab. The Wall Street Journal reports that "people close to Yahoo" [the janitor, mayhap?] are sceptical that Miller can raise the moolah at this moment in time.

They cite banks' reluctance to lend money right now, adding that financing a deal of this enormity would be a Herculean task, even from cash rich sovereign-wealth funds.

The Jonahs also say that given the current slump in advertising, investment in an ad-dependent business like Yahoo would be perilous, the situation further complicated by the firm's management, rudderless after the exit of ceo Jerry Yang.

Miller, however, is a seasoned player in the cyber-game and has close contacts both with Microsoft's senior management and Yahoo investor-director Carl Icahn. Despite the Jonahs, he might just make it.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff