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So Yahoo! didn't announce yesterday that it is to be acquired by another outfit despite fevered speculation that something was in the offing. Never mind.

Still, that hasn't stopped Net users from hedging their bets about the future of Yahoo!.

A rack of prospectors has already bought up domains just in case Yahoo! decides to tie the knot with another operator.

Individuals have already bagged disneyyahoo.com, ebayahoo.com, microsoftyahoo.com and vivendiyahoo.com.

Interestingly, aoltimewarneryahoo.com has already been snapped up - but it's registered to AOL Inc in Dulles, Virginia.

Does this mean the giant Internet and media group has its eyes set on Yahoo!?

Not quite.

"I'm utterly mystified," said one bemused AOL UK spokesman earlier today.

However, he called back later to say that AOL did own the Web address but that it acquired it last year when the dotcom clamped down on cybersquatters.

The cybersquatter in question was forced to hand over the goods - which is why AOL now owns the address. Mystery over, OK. ®

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