2015 has pumped new life into a rumor that began last summer: That troubled Internet portal Yahoo (YHOO) is looking into purchasing CNN or another old-school media outlet.
Yahoo's woes have been well-publicized; how Marissa Mayer, brought in as Yahoo CEO from Google (GOOG) in 2012, was originally hailed for her efforts to reverse Yahoo's declining fortunes -- efforts that included the acquisition of dozens of complementary Internet sites, including the blogging service Tumblr.
But Yahoo, under Mayer's leadership, has also suffered some set-backs as well, to the point where several months ago Wall Street investors suggested that, aside from its stake in Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba (BABA), which went public in September, Yahoo was worth less than its holdings.
Then came an open letter, also in September, from the investment group Starboard Value, calling on Mayer to halt Yahoo's "aggressive acquisition strategy which has resulted in $1.3 billion of capital spent since Q2 2012 while consolidated revenues have remained stagnant and EBITDA has materially decreased," and to instead seek out a merger with AOL.
And now, according to business news reporter Nicholas Carlson -- whose book on Mayer and her time at Yahoo comes out next week -- Mayer and her top management believe purchasing a cable network may just be the get-out-of-jail ticket that Yahoo needs.
According to Carlson's New Year's Day posting, Mayer has considered acquiring Scripps Networks Interactive, and may have already begun negotiations regarding the potential purchase of that company's Food Network.
At the same time, Carlson notes, a media industry source says Yahoo wants to buy CNN from Time Warner (TWX) for somewhere in the ballpark of $5 billion to $6 billion.
In the meantime, Tom Dotan at The Information is also betting on a Yahoo-CNN merger.
"And as it becomes more likely that some tech company will shack up with some media company, my bet is that Yahoo will buy CNN," he posted last week. "The result, in all likelihood, wouldn't be pretty, but at this point in the tech cycle, it may be inevitable."