Company lays groundwork for structural separation

Nearly a decade after they were married, Time Warner is less than month away from divorcing AOL. The company has set Dec. 9 as the date for a share swap leading to a planned spinoff and complete legal and structural separation of the two companies.

On that day, Time Warner shareholders of record as of 5 p.m. on Nov. 27 will receive one share of AOL common stock for every 11 shares of Time Warner common stock they own.

AOL shares will begin trading on a what’s called a “when-issued” basis on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AOL WI starting Nov. 24. On Dec. 10, the stock will begin trading under the symbol AOL — almost exactly 10 years after the Netco merged with Time Warner in one of the decade’s worst media deals. The company that was created became AOL Time Warner.

heralded as a melding of the old media with the new. But shortly after the deal agreement was done,

In 2002, the writing was on the wall, and Gerald Levin, the Time Warner chief who had engineered the deal and served as CEO, stepped down. The following year, Steve Case, AOL’s founder and the chairman of the combined company, was pushed out. The company dropped the AOL from its name and went back to Time Warner.

In recent years, it’s built up its advertising and content businesses as it seeks to stay relevant, with some success.

But it may have been too little, too late. Time Warner chairman-CEO Jeff Bewkes insists that the two companies would fare better on their own and put in motion the split that many within Time Warner have long been anticipating.

Shares of Time Warner common stock will continue to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TWX.

The news came after market close. Time Warner stock rose 40¢, or 1.25%, Monday to end the day at $32.35, but the shares were down were down slightly in after-hours trading.

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