Bewkes acknowledged weakness in the AOL business and told the Bear Stearns media conference Tuesday that Time Warner was open to combining AOL with another company “whatever configuration makes it the strongest and the most valuable.”
These comments follow on from statements Bewkes made in February where he said Time Warner would split off AOL’s dying subscription business from the online content/ advertising side. Erick said then that “this is code for a sale or IPO, or both. Time Warner should sell off the access business to a private equity shop and go full-steam ahead with its IPO plans for Platform A.” Today’s revelations would indicate that a sale or merger is definitely on the books.
As the New York Times points out, AOL is still an appealing company, even if its glory days are behind it. The company booked $5.2 billion in revenue in 2007 with AOL properties receiving 112 million visitors a month.
The only question now is who, and for how much.