Market Overview

This Day In Market History: Time Warner Spins Off AOL

This Day In Market History: Time Warner Spins Off AOL

Each day, Benzinga takes a look back at a notable market-related moment that occurred on this date.

What Happened?

On this day 10 years ago, Time Warner spun off AOL.

Where The Market Was

The Dow finished the day at 8,403. The S&P 500 traded at 906. Today, the Dow is trading at 25,585 and the S&P 500 is trading at 2,826.

What Else Was Going On In The World?

In 2009, Barack Obama became the first African American to become President of the United States. U.S. Airways pilot Chelsey “Sully” Sullenburger successfully crash landed Flight 1549 in the Hudson River after both engines were disabled by a flock of geese. Average American income was $39,423.

Time Warner Ditches AOL

AOL’s fall from grace is legendary on Wall Street. The company first went public back in 1992 at a share price of $11.50. The company launched its first “Buddy List” chat in 1996. In 1999, AOL acquired web browser Netscape for $4.2 billion, and its market cap peaked at $222 billion.

In 2001, AOL merged with Time Warner in a $350 billion deal that created the world’s largest media company. At the time, AOL’s market cap was roughly $192 billion. By the time Time Warner spun off AOL in 2009, AOL’s market cap had shrunk to just $3.3 billion, down more than 97 percent from its peak. The Time Warner-AOL merger is widely considered the worst merger deal in history.

In 2015, Verizon Communications, Inc. (NYSE: VZ) acquired AOL in a $4.4 billion deal, and AOL remains a division of Verizon to this day.

Related Links:

This Day In Market History: AOL Is Founded

AOL AIM To Shut Down: 4 Apps That Could Replace It

Photo credit: Thiago A./Wikimedia.


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