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AOL founder finally prised out of Time Warner

Case to spend more time with Carly

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Farewell, then Steve Case. The man who founded AOL and saved it from dotcom meltdown by turning it into a gigantic suicide truck aimed at Time Warner, finally left the board today.

Case had served as chairman of the merged Time Warner-AOL until January 2003. While his former AOL colleague Bob Pittman left as the merger - initially valued at $350bn - began to unravel, Case continued on the board alongside former Netscape executive Jim Barksdale.

Time Warner agreed to pay $510m last December to settle SEC and DoJ probes into the merger, and agreed to settle shareholder suits with a total liability worth $2.5bn in August.

Since the merger, AOL has failed to capitalize on the explosive growth of online search advertising, with Overture (acquired by Yahoo!) and Google reaping the rewards, and in June Google overtook the media giant in market capitalization. Time Warner is looking to spin off the AOL division, with News Corp., Microsoft, Google and Yahoo! all touted as potential buyers. At the same time, AOL has haemorrhaged subscribers at an ever increasing rate, losing two million last year and over half a million in the first three months of this year.

So the King of the Most Disastrous tech merger in recent years will be able to spend more time with the Queen of the Second Most Disastrous... former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina joined Case's new venture, Revolution Health Group, in September. Case set up this investment vehicle, targeting the health and leisure markets, earlier this year. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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