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Thursday, June 16, 2005 

Business Week AOL Article

Parsons to AOL: "You've got Cash"

The most interesting parts of this article:

  • Miller and other top execs now have made a plea for a bigger allowance from Parsons. In a meeting that took place directly after the all-employee confab in Dulles in May, AOL execs explained that they recently had problems getting approval from the parent company's bean counters for potential acquisitions, according to a senior AOL exec present at the meeting.

    The big one that got away: About.com, a network of Web sites on topics ranging from personal finance to hobbies, which The New York Times (NYT ) bought from Primedia (PRM ) for $410 million in February. With 22 million unique visitors a month at the time, according to the Times, About.com could have catapulted AOL beyond Yahoo in monthly unique visitors to its Web sites. AOL execs contended that Yahoo gained its girth as much through acquisitions of Overture, Inktomi, Launch, and Hot Jobs as it did through organic growth.

  • AOL won't comment on the companies it may seek to buy. But Jupiter Research analyst David Card suggests that to generate more page views and attract advertisers, CEO Miller could look at leading news site CNET.com (CNET ), with a $1.6 billion market cap, women's site iVillage.com (IVIL ) with a $429 million market cap, or even the privately held Neopets.com, where kids build cyberpets and feed them online.

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