April 29, 2009
Time Warner Aims to Unload AOL
In a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, Time Warner signaled its intention to rid itself of its beleaguered AOL division. In a quarterly report to investors released late yesterday, Time Warner wrote, "... the Company currently anticipates that it would initiate a process to spin off one or more parts of the businesses of AOL to Time Warner's stockholders, in one or a series of transactions." AOL absorbed Time Warner just over nine years ago in an all stock deal that exposed the absurdity of the exuberance of the early dot.com era. The transaction which was at the time the largest deal in business history was supposed to help each company find synergies between new and traditional media. Unfortunately for Time Warner investors and fans of AOL, it had the exact opposite effect. Constantly under performing, especially as the Web matured, AOL has been neglected by Time Warner. It recently received due attention with the hiring of former Google business developer Tim Armstrong as AOL's CEO Armstrong is expected to push for innovation and inventiveness, a signal he sent early when he told staff that AOL's Dulles TX office would be a hot-spot for innovation.