How much is AOL really worth? Anything?
In 2000 AOL reached its all time record market cap of $240-billion. As mad the evaluation was, it was used by chairman Steve Case to purchase one of the media’s true giants, TimeWarner. The rest is history, mostly ugly. Fast forward nine years. TimeWarner, the original junior partner in the merger, wants to get AOL off its books and probably wouldn’t even mind hawking it entirely. The problem is, for how much? AOL is not the USA’s favourite Internet access point (5.8 million users vs more than 20 million in 2000), and it’s strategy of being just another content gatekeeper is not exactly a juicy prospect (more like long-ago past due date juice). Most analysts put the figure at $4 billion, but it that is difficult to believe. We think the final price will be as much or as little money as TimeWarner can get, period.
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