AOL shares dip on 1st trading day after spinoff

AP News
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Posted: Dec 10, 2009 10:49 AM

Shares of AOL Inc. declined Thursday as the Internet company made its official split from its failed marriage to media giant Time Warner Inc..

AOL shares, issued at $23.67, fell 36 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $23.21, in morning trading, while shares of Time Warner climbed $1.35, or 4.6 percent, to $30.57.

With its dial-up Internet business in a long decline AOL is looking to boost the amount of advertising money it makes with its Web sites. It has yet to convince investors that its turnaround strategy will pay off.

New York-based AOL Inc. has a long climb before ad revenue can make up for the loss of subscribers, which have dwindled to 5.4 million from a peak of 26.7 million in 2002.

Meanwhile, the long-awaited split is likely to prove a relief for Time Warner investors.

In a note to clients, BMO Capital Markets analyst Jeffrey Logsdon called the failed merger "a nine-year adventure akin to a marathon through the mud."

When AOL bought Time Warner in 2001, the companies made a bet that Time Warner's TV and magazine assets would complement AOL's Internet business. Instead, broadband Web connections began to kill off AOL's main source of revenue and drag down the whole company.