We know that Time Warner is going to want to sell its AOL internet services division. Just last month TWX's CEO Jeff Bewkes said the company had taken care of the basic logistics to split off AOL's dial up business from the content business, planning to separate the two early next years.
John Malone's Liberty Media is now a lead contender. Late last week Malone said he's talking about swapping his shares in Time Warner for AOL's internet access business. Liberty owns 103 million shares in Time Warner, worth about $1.4 billion based on my last calculation. That's just a bit below what AOL's internet access division is expected to sell for.
Another likely partner for AOL: Yahoo , which could potentially merge with AOL, while Time Warner retains a stake. Last week Yahoo's board authorized executives to restart talks with AOL about merging the two companies' internet businesses. Bewkes is under pressure finalize the sale of this AOL division and many analysts say the company's stock depends on it.
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