Icahn plays Scrooge in Google-AOL deal

Dec. 20, 2005 at 12:48 PM
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NEW YORK, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Mogul Carl Icahn may have thrown a wrench into Google's pending acquisition of a stake in America Online.

Wall Street waited with baited breath Tuesday to see what the effect of the influential Ichan's high-profile public criticism would have on the proposed $1 billion transactions for 5 percent of AOL.

Icahn said in a letter to Time Warner's board that striking a partnership with Google could derail potential AOL deals that would prove more lucrative.

"The real risk for Time Warner shareholders is that a Google joint venture may be short-sighted in nature," Icahn said.

Doubts among Internet analysts were already in play Tuesday, including concerns that Google's search-engine practices would be tilted in favor of AOL search results.

"It has been sacred for them to not interfere with natural results," Andy Beal, head of online advertising firm Fortune Interactive, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "They run the risk as they grow -- because of Wall Street expectations -- of having to compromise their beliefs."

Google denied there would be such a problem.

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