Seemed like a good idea at the time
AOL chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange today to signify its first day as an independent, public company following its spin-off from Time Warner.
"As we look to the future on this important day for AOL, our company is focused on building the highest quality content for consumers and the best products and services for our advertising and publishing partners," said Armstrong. "Our content sites and advertising platforms give AOL a unique seat at the Internet table and we intend to maximize these valuable assets and our scale to return our business to growth."
Lest we forget, AOL acquired Time Warner at the height of the dotcom frenzy in early 2000. It was billed as a merger, but AOL shareholders owned 55 percent of AOL Time Warner and Time Warner shareholders got the rest.
At the time it was pitched as the world's first Internet-age media and communications company, with the ‘old media' of Time Warner supposedly complimenting the new media ISP and web portal offerings of AOL. However, soon after the merger, the dotcom bubble burst and much less value was placed on new media companies.
"With the separation of AOL, we've returned to our roots as one of the leading content companies in the world. We're now better positioned to focus even more closely on driving the best possible performance at our content businesses in the most efficient way," said Time Warner Chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes.
"I'm confident that Time Warner is on track to generate steady, attractive financial results and improve returns to our stockholders. At the same time, we believe that AOL will have greater operational and strategic flexibility as a standalone company."