“[Tim] Armstrong would not have taken the job if the plans for a spin out of AOL were not in place and it’s in everyone’s interests to signal that it’s a go right away,” says one of Kara Swisher’s inside sources. “The only catch is the poor economy, but even that should not prevent Time Warner from doing what’s right to finally fix AOL.”
So that leaves the question…how is Time Warner going to spin AOL out? A share dividend to existing shareholders, a la Time Warner Cable? Will they sell 20% to the public? What will Google do with its 5% stake? (Google has exercised its right to force Time Warner to spin the company out or buy back the stake, which may be what is forcing this whole issue).
Kara says that Tim’s hoofing it down to Dulles tomorrow to fire up the troops. She also says that he might bring some special guests along, in the form of ex-AOL bigs Ted Leonsis and Steve Case.
Ted we can maybe believe, because he just left (after clashing with Rondy). We’d be surprised about Steve, though. We’d also frankly be surprised if Tim wanted his first message to the troops to be a blast from the past. AOL’s way out of this room is not through the door it came in (there’s no going back). AOL needs to find a new way, one that has nothing to do with Steve or Ted.