Time Warner to spin off AOL on Dec. 9

AP News
Posted: Nov 16, 2009 7:02 PM

Time Warner said Monday that it will spin off its Internet business, AOL Inc., as a separate company on Dec. 9.

On that date, Time Warner shareholders of record as of Nov. 27 will receive one share of AOL common stock for every 11 shares of Time Warner common stock they hold, the media company said.

AOL said in a Monday regulatory filing that it will start out with about 105.7 million common shares, based on the amount of shares of Time Warner stock it expects to be outstanding as of Nov. 27.

Based on Time Warner's closing stock price of $32.35 on Monday, AOL is currently worth about $3.4 billion.

That is a fraction of the $20 billion that longtime advertising partner Google Inc. valued it at in 2005 when it bought a 5 percent stake in the company for $1 billion. It is also much lower than what Time Warner valued AOL at in July when it bought back Google's investment for $283 million _ this signified AOL was worth less than $5.66 billion when excluding an unspecified cash distribution that was included in the total price.

Time Warner was initially purchased by AOL in 2001. The media conglomerate said in May that it planned to spin off the business by the end of the year after years of trying unsuccessfully to integrate the two companies. AOL's Internet access business has long been fading, while efforts to derive more revenue from online advertising have encountered difficulties.

AOL is based in New York and has major operations in Northern Virginia. It has about 6,900 employees, though the company is expected to announce a large restructuring plan as it separates from Time Warner, which could lead to numerous job cuts.

AOL shares will start trading regularly on the New York Stock Exchange on Dec. 10 under the ticker "AOL."

Prior to that, shareholders will be able to trade stock on a "when-issued" basis starting Nov. 24. In this type of trading, stock can be bought and sold but the transactions are not completed until the stock is formally issued.