The deadline for final bids for the AOL Time Warner Book Group, originally set for April 15, has been pushed back to April 24. The extension gives AOLTWBG banker Merrill Lynch more time to search for potential new buyers.

A source familiar with the sale process said that interest in the book group, never high to begin with, has continued to wane, with a soft first quarter the latest factor working against interest in AOLTWBG. The only party confirmed to still be serious about making a deal is Frank Pearl, founder of Perseus Books, although Bertelsmann may get involved if no buyer can be found. With so few buyers remaining, the purchase price has slipped to the "very low" $300 million range, a source said, a price that could attract an equity investor.

AOLTW's Oxmoor House, Leisure Arts and Sunset Book units are not part of the current sale, but an industry expert said adding those operations—"good backlist, low advances"—would make for a more compelling deal.