"We've all looked at that deal so many times," said Sue Decker, who left Yahoo in 2009. "And I think you just get something that's even bigger, growing slower"—a line that generated chuckles around a roomful of female executives who had gathered in Dana Point, Calif., for the Fortune Most Powerful Women's conference.
Decker's comments on Monday came days after an activist hedge fund, Starboard Value, urged Yahoo to consider a pairing with AOL, cut bloat, and sell Asian assets. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer responded by saying she would review Starboard's letter, but Yahoo executives said as recently as July that they would not consider an AOL deal.
Yahoo did not immediately respond to a CNBC email sent Tuesday seeking comment.