CompuServe and America Online (AOL) are in merger talks as the former, a relative newcomer to the Internet jungle, chases its tail trying to find a profits route after a number of years - the last four loss-making - as a closed network. AOL, the largest net service provider in the US by far, has a pan-European subscriber base of around half a million, compared with CompuServe's 900,000. If a deal is not reached, CompuServe UK is likely to withdraw altogether as an Internet access provider to focus on provision of business-oriented services.