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AOL / Google deal 'a disastrous decision'

Icahn rubbishes tie-up

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Execs at Time Warner have are "on the verge of making a disastrous decision" by flogging a slice of AOL to Google, a dissident shareholder has warned.

Carl Icahn, the billionaire financier who represents a group of investors who together own three per cent of Time Warner, has his own ideas how the business should be run. And he's not afraid to voice his opinions.

In an open letter to Time Warner bigwigs he says he has no problem with any deal that creates "long-term value".

"However, I am deeply concerned that the Time Warner Board may be on the verge of making a disastrous decision concerning an agreement with Google if this agreement would make it more difficult in any way or effectively preclude a merger or other type of transaction with companies such as IAC/InterActive, eBay, Yahoo!, or Microsoft etc. etc..."

He went on: "The real risk for Time Warner shareholders is that a Google joint venture may be short sighted in nature and may preclude any consideration of a broader set of alternatives that would better maximize value and ensure a bright future for AOL."

According to reports at the weekend Google has beat off a challenge from Microsoft to team up with AOL and is prepared to pay $1bn to take a 5 per cent stake in the media giant.

Last month, Time Warner confirmed that it was holding "exploratory" talks with a number of operators over the future of its AOL internet division concerning a "range of potential strategic relationships and transactions".

This merely confirmed stories that had been buzzing around for months that AOL may - or may not - be up for sale.®

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