With news breaking yesterday about AOL, Inc. (NYSE:AOL) possibly being acquired by Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) or being tapped for a joint venture, Tim Armstrong today discussed the prospect of working with the U.S. carrier.
In an interview with Julia Boorstin of CNBC, AOL, Inc. (NYSE:AOL)’s top executive was very roundabout about any possibly partnership with Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ).
The AOL, Inc. (NYSE:AOL) chief executive told Boorstin that he has been asked about deals related to AOL the last couple times he’s been interviewed by the CNBC personality. He said he would give Boorstin a similar answer he has had before which is that that company’s strategy of being a global content brand, video and programmatic advertising is clearly where the market is going.
By taking AOL, Inc. (NYSE:AOL) from a struggling company to a company with two years of growth by 2014, they have attracted parties like Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ).
“I think whether it is Verizon or the other companies you’ve asked me about, I think we have a lot of partners coming to see us and talk to us about different things. But AOL has a unique vison [and] unique strategy [and] we’ve stayed on strategy. I think you’ll see us in 2015 operating against our vision and that’s our main focus,” he said.
In other words, Armstrong is reluctant to confirm whether Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is indeed in talks with the company for a possible partnership.
Armstrong said that the reaction of the market, which was to increase his company’s stock price after news about a possible Verizon deal broke, was merely a reflection of how interested the industry is about his company. He said that their performance, including their increasing power in advertising, drives this interest and not a possible tie-up with Verizon per se.
David E. Shaw’s D.E. Shaw & Co., L.P. owned about 2.51 million AOL, Inc. (NYSE:AOL) shares by the end of the third quarter. By the same period, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owned about 15 million Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) shares.