- The Washington Times - Friday, December 11, 2009

NEW YORK | AOL Inc. resumed life as an independent Internet company Thursday as it completed its spinoff from Time Warner Inc. and closed the book on one of the most disastrous business combinations in history.

AOL shares fell 15 cents to close at $23.52 on Thursday. Time Warner stock closed up $1.23, or 4.2 percent, at $30.45.

Today’s AOL is much different from the Northern Virginia company once known as America Online, which got big in the 1990s by selling dial-up Internet access and then used $147 billion of its inflated stock to buy Time Warner. AOL, which is now worth about $2 billion, is trying to get most of its money from running advertisements on its portfolio of Web sites.

Those sites include the AOL.com home pages, MapQuest and tech blog Engadget. AOL isn’t keeping the entertainment site TMZ.com, which is staying in Time Warner.

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

The company was once known as AOL Time Warner but dropped AOL from the name in 2003. That was a sign of what was to come: Time Warner announced AOL’s spinoff in May after years of trying to integrate the two companies.

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