10 December 2009

AOL Time Warner splits after near 10-year marriage

AOL and Time Warner have formally split after almost 10 years as one company. Under the terms of the deal, qualifying shareholders will receive one AOL share for each 11 Time Warner they own. AOL shares will even regain the market ticker symbol they used before the merger. But the company will be worth a tiny fraction of what it once was. Its market value is put at about $2.5bn - 10% of its value at the firm's height. At the time of the merger in 2001, the marriage of Time Warner with AOL was dubbed the "deal of the century" - one that brought superstars of both old and new media together. But the new media element, AOL, soon started to look jaded as its once-popular dial-up internet model was superseded by broadband. [Ed: the deal was announced on 10 January 2000 and QuickLinks subscribers received a "QuickLinks Flash" - a special email message. See QuickLinks item].