Last Friday, word of Microsoft and Yahoo possibly tying the knot gave everyone whiplash, as early rumors of a pending deal were quashed just a few hours later. Now, speculation about similar deals is building into a roar, as analysts toss about any and all possible merger combinations. Names that are being thrown about as possible Yahoo suitors include AT&T, Comcast, eBay, and (of course) Google. There doesn't seem to be much justification for any of these deals, but that doesn't seem to be the point. Wall Street wants to see deals, and individual analysts can raise their profile by making outlandish suggestions. The idea that Google might buy Yahoo seems the most absurd, since there's no reason for Google to buy the traffic that it's already taking for free on a monthly basis. But of course, these days no discussion of M&A is complete without mentioning Google, so the fact that someone would say it was inevitable. Another interesting angle on all of the buyout rumors is that some people are making serious money (via Om) on these short-term stock spasms, and it's not unreasonable to wonder whether the sources of these rumors have some ulterior motive. A very similar thing happened in March with Palm, as someone aggressively put out the word that the company would soon be bought out, sending the company's shares considerably higher. That too later proved to be false. Obviously, the media should be able to pass along rumors without being 100% sure of their veracity, but it would behoove news outlets to make sure that they're not simply getting played by interested parties.
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