A report published late Friday in Business Week’s online edition said senior Yahoo! executives, including Chief Executive Officer Timothy Koogle and co-founder Jerry Yang, have been meeting with Broadcast.com executives over the past few days. Yahoo! already has a minority stake in the streaming media company.
The recent soar in Internet stocks has upped the price Yahoo! would likely have to pay. Broadcast.com’s stock has been on a steep climb over the past four months and the company is now valued at about $4 billion. By contrast, however, Yahoo! is worth $35 billion.
Neither company would comment on the report.
Persons familiar with the talks say Yahoo! is eyeing Broadcast.com because it would give the portal a chance to greatly expand its offerings. As with all portals, Yahoo! is always looking for ways to keep viewers at its site longer.
Analysts say Broadcast.com is also keeping a keen eye on Microsoft and Viacom, which recently purchased streaming audio provider Imagine Radio and has established an Internet division. Earlier this week, Microsoft launched Web Events 3.0, an updated version of its streaming media site.
Another factor that may help speed the deal is executives at both companies are on friendly terms with each other.
While Broadcast.com became famous for putting radio stations on the Web, its biggest money generators are special events, such as earnings announcements and conference calls for large corporations. Broadcast.com’s recent airing of a Victoria’s Secret fashion show also garnered the company much attention since the company’s servers were quickly overloaded.
However, like many Internet-related issues, Broadcast.com still continues to lose money. It reported a net loss of $3.7 million in the quarter ended Dec. 31. By contrast, Yahoo! is one of the few profitable Internet companies around.
Sources also tell Business Week that Yahoo! may have some competition in its pursuit to buy Broadcast.com. America Online Inc. and NBC are both reportedly interested as well. However, neither of those companies would comment.
The news of Yahoo!’s possible purchase of Broadcast.com comes only two months after the search engine purchased Web community GeoCities. That $4.7 billion deal has yet to close.