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Ex-AOL Boss Seeks Funds for Firm, Not Yahoo: Report

Former AOL Chief Executive Jonathan Miller is trying to raise capital for Velocity Interactive Group, an investment firm focused on digital media where he is a partner, and not for buying Yahoo Inc. , the New York Post reported.

Miller, who led AOL, Time Warner Inc.'s online advertising division, from 2002 to 2006, is seeking as much as $30 billion from investors to buy all or part of Yahoo, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, boosting shares of the Web search engine firm 7 percent.

But the chances of Miller, an Internet industry veteran, doing a deal with Yahoo are extremely low, the paper said, citing a source familiar with Miller's fundraising efforts.

Miller has been talking with private equity firms and sovereign wealth funds about raising capital for Velocity Interactive, which he runs along with former Fox Interactive Media President Ross Levinsohn, the Post said, citing two other sources close to Miller.

Miller could not immediately be reached for comment.

Analysts have been skeptical about Miller's ability to raise funds for a possible takeover of Yahoo, as raising so much money in the current market may be tough, with banks unwilling to lend and several deals falling apart as companies find it nearly impossible to issue debt to finance acquisitions.

Last month, the Sunday Times reported, without citing its sources, that Microsoft Corp. is in talks with Yahoo to buy the U.S. internet company's online search business for $20 billion.

The proposal under discussion involves a complex transaction that would see the U.S. software giant support a new management team -- led by Miller and Fox Interactive's Levinsohn -- to take control of Yahoo, the Sunday Times had said.

But Levinsohn was quoted as saying the report was "total fiction" by the influential U.S. blog AllThingsDigital, affiliated with the Wall Street Journal.

Speculation about possible deals has been widespread after Microsoft withdrew a $47.5 billion offer to buy Yahoo in May after Yahoo's board and its then-CEO Jerry Yang rejected it as too low.

In July, Yahoo had suggested Miller as a nominee to its board, after investor Carl Icahn agreed to settle his fight with the Internet company in exchange for expanding the board.

But Time Warner blocked Miller's nomination, citing an agreement that banned him from working for competitors, including Yahoo, until March 2009.