Cue the secret-agent music: Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said that the media behemoth would announce plans for AOL, which was hit particularly hard this quarter, “very soon.”
UPDATE: Time Warner filed a report today that confirms the rumors. AOL is going to be spun off into its own company.
“Although the Company’s Board of Directors has not made any decision, the Company currently anticipates that it would initiate a process to spin off one or more parts of the businesses of AOL to Time Warner’s stockholders, in one or a series of transactions.”
(Big tip o’ the hat to Peter Kafka at MediaMemo.)
Rumors have been swirling that Time Warner will spin off AOL, whose revenue this quarter was down 23 percent. The company wasn’t shy about blaming AOL for its overall decline in revenue, listing the internet company first in its Q1 2009 earnings statement when citing the three Time Warner segments that dragged Time Warner’s revenue down 7 percent from this same period last year. (The other two segments were Publishing and Filmed Entertainment.)
Also in the release, Bewkes said, “We’re also working to determine the right ownership structure for AOL.”
Let’s remember, though, that AOL is still profitable, only it’s about half as profitable as last year, when it earned $284 million to its $150 million this year. So is the “You’ve Got Mail!” company totally doomed? ‘Course not. But what it will look like when this all blows over is anyone’s guess.