AOL Merger Assets Now Valued at $0
Today, we find retrospective criticism of the AOL Time Warner merger in The Globe and Mail. Mathew Ingram says that the assets that AOL brought to the merger are now discounted to the point where they are worth nothing because the AOL Time Warner stock price has fallen to the book value of the Time Warner media assets alone. Ingram says:
If anything, AOL has made it even more obvious in recent weeks that most of the reasons for the merger have vanished with the same dot-com breeze that blew them in. For example, one of the main strengths of the combined company was supposed to be the marriage of AOL's on-line content and branding with the high-speed cable network run by Time Warner, a win-win situation that would take AOL's traditional dial-up customers to a whole new level, producing plenty of growth and hefty profit margins.
Instead of this magical world full of rainbows and sunshine, however, AOL Time Warner has wound up with the exact opposite. Not only has AOL failed to sign up new cable partners who can deliver its service through their broadband pipes, but the company can't even get that many users of its own Time Warner cable network to sign up for AOL. So what does chief operating officer Bob Pittman do? He tries the old 'sour grapes' argument: we don't really want those high-speed cable and DSL users anyway.