Deposed Bertelsmann chief executive Thomas Middelhoff (49) has this week been engaged in intimate chats with the head honchos of AOL Time Warner, according to insider reports.

The moles tell that Middelhoff, an unreconstructed e-vangelist, met on Wednesday with AOL TW ceo Richard D Parsons at the media titan’s New York headquarters; and the following day with chairman Steve Case.

Middelhoff’s ties with AOL TW go way back, having once served on AOL’s board of directors and teamed with the company in a joint venture with Bertelsmann to launch AOL Europe.

AOL Time Warner declined to comment on the meetings. But it is thought that the discussions were not confined to the Kyoto Treaty, the weather in Wisconsin or Case’s golf handicap.

Case told The Washington Post during an interview in early August: “I'm not sure he [Middelhoff] did anything wrong at Bertelsmann . . . As I understand it, he was doing a fine job of running the company.” But Case ducked the question as to whether he was planning to hire his old buddy.

Data sourced from: The Washington Post Online; additional content by WARC staff