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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Case Mulls Detaching AOL From Time Warner

LONDON -- AOL Time Warner chairman Steve Case has suggested to senior executives that the company could spin off its America Online unit, The Wall Street Journal reported in its online edition Tuesday.

Citing "people who have overheard" Case, the newspaper reported the embattled chairman had been toying with the idea of spinning off AOL, a unit beset by accounting probes and blamed by investors for the media conglomerate's depressed shares.

The newspaper said it was unclear whether Case considers this a realistic business plan or is just expressing frustration with complaints from company executives that the division is a drag on the company. It added there was no sign that executives were taking Case seriously.

A spokesman for the company told the newspaper, "there are no plans to spin off AOL and there are no serious discussions to do so."

The comments, according to the Journal, suggest there are sensitivities among the company's leadership since America Online's business began to unravel just months after it acquired Time Warner for $103.5 billion in stock in January 2001.

Case was CEO of America Online before the merger and he negotiated the deal with then-Time Warner CEO Gerald Levin.

Case survived a hastily arranged coup last month, led by media mogul Ted Turner, to have him ousted as chairman, removing the last of the main architects behind the much-maligned merger.

One important ally for Case and AOL, at least publicly, is AOL Time Warner chief executive Richard Parsons. In September, Parsons said he valued Case's contribution to the business.