How times change. Disney competitor Time Warner’s CEO is explaining how he wants to cast off AOL.
A spinoff or sale of AOL, should it occur, would mark a sea change from 2000, when Time Warner agreed to be purchased by the Internet company then known as America Online at the top of the dot-com bubble. The deal turned out to be disastrous, leading to massive write-downs and settlements with shareholders and regulators over accounting improprieties.
Time Warner, of course, is one of Disney’s largest competitors, owning in part or in whole various businesses that compete with and work with Disney, such as Warner Brothers, New Line Cinema, and the CW television network, and Time Warner Cable.
I’m usually a big fan of "synergy", but vertical integration doesn’t always work, for various reasons. When AOL bought TIme Warner, it was seen as a great way to make sure that AOL had great entertainment content and that Time Warner had another guaranteed distribution method for its products. But a lot can go wrong with such deals.