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Time Warner is considering spinning off its AOL division, CEO Richard Parsons told shareholders on Friday.

"If we get to the point where consolidation is happening in the Internet space...the possibility of an IPO is out there," said Parsons. The Wall Street Journal cites sources as saying that Time Warner would continue to hold a majority stake in the internet company.

Two of its three chief rivals, Google and Yahoo!, have been on an acquisition spree to bolster their portals, with the former acquiring Keyhole and Picasa amongst others. Yahoo!'s $1.6bn purchase of Overture in 2003 was instrumental to its growth.

AOL acquired Time Warner for $112bn at the height of the dotcom bubble - a catastrophic but not fatal decision by the media giant. Time Warner recently settled long running disputes with regulators on both sides of the Atlantic SEC over security fraud charges, after making a final $510m in the US and $300m to settle a parallel EU investigation. ®

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