AOL Hires Financial Adviser: Report

By Cindy Waxer November 08, 2010

AOL has reportedly hired financial advisors to explore strategic alternatives for the company, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. According to the Journal, although AOL has not reached out to Yahoo with a definitive proposal, the company’s advisers have been exploring possibilities including a relationship with Yahoo.

The Journal reports that options include merging Yahoo’s and AOL’s online businesses and spinning off Yahoo’s Asian assets to give shareholders back some capital. Another idea would have private equity buy a stake in the combined operations and give a dividend to Yahoo shareholders, the paper said.

However, AOL is also looking at alternatives other than a deal with Yahoo, the Journal reported.

In early November, AOL reported that the struggling company’s third-quarter earnings more than doubled, though revenue declined sharply as its online ad sales dropped and the company’s subscriber base continues to dwindle.

AOL’s net income increased to $171.6 million, or $1.60 per share, in the July-September quarter, up from $74 million, or 70 cents per share, a year earlier. The company’s revenue dropped 26 percent to $563.5 million from $763.9 million. And advertising revenue dropped 27 percent to $292.8 million.

AOL’s subscriber base has also been hard hit. Subscription revenue declines primarily reflect the 24 percent decline in domestic AOL-brand access subscribers.

AOL’s CEO Tim Armstrong has been trying to turn the company around with a string of recent purchases including 5 Minutes Ltd., TechCrunch, Inc. and Thing Labs, Inc., for $97.1 million and a further $23.1 million in compensation contingent on service to AOL over the next three years. In October, AOL entered into a definitive agreement to sell a portion of its campus in Dulles, Va., for $144.5 million in cash. AOL also renewed and expanded its global partnership with Google for the provision of search services to AOL Properties. AOL and Google agreed to work to expand the partnership to include mobile search and Google will feature AOL content on YouTube.




Edited by Erin Harrison

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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