The word from Bloomberg this morning is that Verizon is kicking the tires over at AOL. They're thinking about either an actual buyout or some sort of joint venture, although there is no actual proposal on the table yet.
The aim, for Verizon at least, would apparently be AOL's advertising marketplace technology, which Verizon might want to pair with an online video product they are working on. Verizon is looking for new and better ways to monetize online video, and especially mobile online video, which makes all the sense in the world of course.
But it's on the online publishing side that I suspect feathers might get more ruffled by the idea. AOL owns HuffingtonPost and therefore sites like TechCrunch. A buyout by Verizon would give it a foothold in the online media business that covers Verizon itself, one they crashed and burned at just months ago. Remember the quick autumn birth and death of SugarString? The Verizon-powered tech news and lifestyle site with supposed editorial rules at launch not to cover certain topics near and dear to its parent?
A side 'benefit' to a Verizon purchase of AOL could therefore give them a second try at that media foothold. If they're smart enough to know that would probably be a bad idea, then these talks with AOL will be more about the joint venture idea than the buyout.