Comcast, Google and Time Warner are discussing a possible deal under which the three companies would form a new entity through which they would jointly own the Web portal, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because release of the information was not authorized.

The potential deal could derail separate talks that have been reported between AOL and Microsoft Corp., which is believed to be interested in an alliance between AOL and Microsoft's MSN, another major Internet portal.

Any deal between AOL and MSN could threaten Google, since AOL is major contributor to Google's thriving Internet ad business, accounting for 11 percent of Google's $2.6 billion (euro2.2 billion) in revenue during the first half of this year.

AOL was long considered a drag on Time Warner due to the rapid exodus of its core dial-up Internet users, but recently AOL has been revamping its business model, opening up its content to all Internet users in order to tap into the booming market for Internet advertising.

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