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It reads like an April Fool’s Day gag, but it isn't. US investors have been so overcome with enthusiasm for anything to do with the Web that America Online is now worth more than Walt Disney, Viacom and CBS combined, according to today's Financial Times. Walt Disney himself must be spinning in his grave, Mickey and Donald must be fuming. Web-investment fervour has added some $62 billion to AOL's value in the last four weeks alone, giving the giant of the Internet a market capitalisation of $140 billion. Poor old Disney only has a market cap of $66 billion, Viacom $35 billion and CBS $30 billion. AOL is expected to see its turnover top the $4 billion mark this year and may even record a profit. If it does it will one of a tiny number of hot Web stocks with any real money behind them. Some analysts and industry watchers have likened the rush to invest in the Web to the fairy tale of the Emperor's new clothes. The combined turnover of Disney, Viacom and CBS by comparison amounts to around $45 billion –- casting a not inconsiderable shadow over AOL. ®

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