Time Warner Inc. said Wednesday it will separate AOLs online access and advertising divisions, and possibly spin off the remainder of the Time Warner Cable Inc. unit.
CEO Jeff Bewkes said Time Warner is separating AOLs dial-up access business from the online ad-based business. Demand for dial-up has shrunk as high-speed Internet access from cable and phone companies becomes ubiquitous and more affordable.
The move is a 180-degree shift from 2000, when Time Warner bought AOL amidst great fanfare, and later had to write down the value of AOL and settle lawsuits with shareholders and regulators over an accounting scandal.
Bewkes also discussed reducing Time Warners stake in Time Warner Cable. Time Warner owns 84 percent of the cable division but Bewkes said hed have more plans available by the end of April.
Bewkes disclosed the AOL strategy during Time Warners fourth-quarter 2007 earnings call.
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