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Time Warner swallows Google's AOL stake

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Time Warner has bought back the five per cent stake in AOL which Google bought for $1bn back in 2003 - only having to cough up $283m for the stake.

Google wrote the investment down by $726m in February.

The buyback is a necessary step in Time Warner's long-stated ambition to spin AOL off as an independent company.

It hired Tim Armstrong to head up the new and improved AOL.

The merger of AOL and Time Warner cost somewhere in the region of $160bn at the height of dot-com lunacy in 2000.

AOL started out as an internet service provider distributing millions of promotional CDs. It sold its UK dial-up business to CarphoneWarehouse and is now trying to redefine itself as a content provider and ad sales organisation.

AOL's revenues fell 23 per cent to $867m in the quarter ended March 31 2009. This was blamed on a 27 per cent fall in subscription revenues and a 20 per cent fall in ad revenues. ®

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