Microsoft and AOL: It had to be

I’ve been saying for months that Microsoft is the most logical purchaser of AOL–Just the direct access they’d gain to consumers makes it worth it from a direct marketing perspective, never mind the triumphant feeling of buying (and co-opting) a competitor you’ve never been able to quash.
Now The NY Post says the same thing)hopefully with more research behind it). Tim Arango writes: “Sources say the deal being discussed within Time Warner would include Microsoft paying cash plus the assumption of debt to acquire AOL. A possible investment by Microsoft in Time Warner Cable has also been considered, sources say. Microsoft previously invested $1 billion in Comcast, the nation’s largest cable operator, and owns about 7 percent of that company. ”
Of course, AOL says nay–but why wouldn’t they?
Mernit prediction: If this deal doesn’t happen, it will be because of SEC and regulatory concerns around AOL, especially given the history of litigation between the companies, or because Microsoft realized it was nuts to want to buy a dial-up business and then have to lay off 500+ people in the content and browser divisions, all under the caustic eye of the press I(just my opinion).