Time Warner Finally Leaving Its Circle of A-O-Hell

| About: Time Warner (TWX)

I'm hoping that now, finally, Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) will be rid of AOL.

The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that Time Warner has finally figured out how to split up the dial-up ISP business from the advertising and content side of its Internet albatross, otherwise known as AOL.

The world knows Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes has little affection for AOL, but plans to divide and then offload it - either to investors or to one of desperate duo of Jerry Yang and Steve Ballmer - have been delayed by financial issues, according to the WSJ.

The paper said Time Warner was uncertain about how revenue and liabilities would be divided, making a valuation of the businesses hard to come by.

For Time Warner management and its shareholders, dispatching AOL has been a long time coming. Its dial-up business - which amazingly is still profitable - is likely set for a precipitous decline. And on the advertising side, the recession looms large on the horizon.

Even for whatever value is left in AOL in a best-case scenario, the division has been a mental drag on Time Warner management for years. Getting rid of it can only help Bewkes' team focus on their key businesses and deliver for battered investors.

It would have been tough to imagine, back in the late 1990s, that AOL, once the web's most visible address, would be carved up and sold as parts. That the stubbornly old media gang at Time Warner would be more than happy to do it is much less of a surprise.

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