Jeff Bewkes babbled for a long while about AOL at the UBS conference yesterday, but he doesn’t appear to have said anything. PaidContent.org took notes:
“I’d like to get it resolved, meaning clear… so AOL can be seen and valued… We need to do it fairly soon and we’ve been working hard on it.”…
if AOL were a TV network, “he’d say the ratings are up. ” But, he admitted to investors, ad sales are not up the same way and have been disappointing to us and to you.” AOL’s performance is further hampered by being “essentially in third place” and not a market leader. “Because of that, even though some excellent work is being done on cost cuts, programming and traffic,” AOL’s value is being lost…
“We need to assess—as does any of those three counterparties—what would be the improvement to economics of making either a commercial or a merger arrangement with pieces of AOL? From our side, is the result reasonably as good or better than what we can do operating it, spinning it or taking certain pieces of it and letting those go into combinations with one of those other three companies…”
Bewkes made a point of mentioning how AOL fits in Time Warner as a content business, adding, “that doesn’t mean we have a religious view of having to operate it. we will do whatever creates the best value realisation.”
Are AOL and Yahoo closer to a deal? Will Microsoft swoop in and buy AOL at the last second? Will Time Warner just hang on until AOL disintegrates completely? This has gone on so long that we, for one, don’t care anymore.
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