It’s official: Time Warner is free of AOL.
Effective 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday night, one share of AOL common stock was distributed for every 11 shares of Time Warner common stock, the company said in a statement. Stockholders will receive a cash payment instead of any fractional AOL shares.
“With the separation of AOL, we’ve returned to our roots as one of the leading content companies in the world,” Time Warner Chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes said. “We’re now better positioned to focus even more closely on driving the best possible performance at our content businesses in the most efficient way … At the same time, we believe that AOL will have greater operational and strategic flexibility as a standalone company.”
The two companies announced their plans to divorce in May, after a decade of cohabitation that never quite made sense. In November, they gave Dec. 9 as the official break-up date.
In hopes of creating a multi-media empire, Time Warner bought AOL in January 2001 for $164 billion. But its stock price plunged and synergies were hard to come by as AOL transformed from a self-contained online community into just another web portal struggling to find revenue.
In October, a nine-member Board of Directors was set up to run the new AOL company, with CEO Tim Armstrong serving as chairman.
Also on the board: Richard Dalzell, Karen Dykstra, William Hambrecht, Patricia Mitchell, Michael Powell, Fredric Reynolds, James Stengel and former William Morris Agency chairman Jim Wiatt.
“AOL is on a mission to help create the future of media and content and the AOL Board will play a central part in helping us focus the strategy and also operate the company with the highest ethical standards," said Armstrong at the time. "These individuals bring independent judgment and a dedication to building shareholder value, and they will be a tremendous resource for our company, our employees, and our future."