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"AOL is an extremely important part of our company."
PARSONS: AOL STAYING PUT
“AT THIS POINT”
Time Warner Head Pulls Back From Spin-off Speculation As AOL Ramps Up New Strategy
Pulling back from his statement last week that Time Warner may separate itself from AOL by spinning off the division, TW chief Richard Parsons told investors Saturday at the media giant’s annual meeting that no such move is being considered "at this point."

"If it gets to the point where consolidation is happening in the Internet, yeah, the possibility of an IPO is out there," Parsons told the Washington Post after the meeting. "AOL is an extremely important part of our company,” Parsons insisted.

AOL is in the midst of redefining itself under the leadership of CEO Jonathan Miller, whose strategy involves an emphasis on ad revenue and a closely related opening up of segments of the “walled garden” to all Internet users. Miller’s approach paid off in fiscal Q1, with a 45% increase in ad sales to $311 million.

In June, AOL will debut a new-look aol.com deigned to put the company on even footing with Yahoo! and Google in terms of features and transparency. If the revamping works, aol.com will attract many more users than AOL’s eroding subscription base (5 million subscribers have switched to other services in the last three years), and more eyes equal more ad dollars.

The beefed-up site is among several major moves made by Miller and his team in recent months, including AOL Search, a free email service and a travel site. Additionally, AOL just launched Netscape 8.0, the first update of the browser in five years, and the hybrid concept, which blends features of Internet Explorer and Firefox, has drawn positive initial reviews.

At the meeting, Time Warner announced that it will begin paying 5 cent quarterly dividends in September, the first since the AOL merger in 2000. Multiply that nickel by TW’s 4.69 billion outstanding shares and you get a whopping $937 million in yearly payouts. "The turnaround is complete. We are moving forward and picking up speed," Parsons promised.

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