Cable TV

Google, Comcast looking to buy a stake in AOL

MUMBAI: The world's most valuable media company Google, which is worth around $91 billion and Comcast are looking to jointly buy a stake in Time Warner's America Online Internet unit.

Media reports indicate that if the deal goes through the three companies would form a new entity through which they would jointly own the Web portal. While AOL has been successful of late at generating online content, it has been affected by people switching from dial-up to high-speed connections. This news comes at a time when Time Warner is also talking to Microsoft regarding a tie up between AOL and MSN.

The deal would bring together Time Warner's programming content and Google's search and e-mail services with Comcast's high-speed Internet portal and experience in cable video distribution and telecommunications. Google got around 11 per cent of its first-half revenues from a deal with AOL.

Google will gain the video features that its own Web sites lack, such as original shows and transmissions of concerts. Comcast will bring movies and television shows to the venture while gaining access to AOL's 21 million Internet customers.

Reports further state that Google and Comcast are valuing AOL's content business at about $10 billion, which implies a valuation of as much as $5 billion for the minority stake the two parties are seeking.

AOL has benefitted from a better online ad scenario. Although AOL's overall sales dropped by four per cent in the second quarter, ad revenues were up 45 per cent from a year ago and operating income increased by 33 per cent.

News of the negotiations comes on the heels of continued pressure by corporate raider Carl Icahn on Time Warner to take steps to boost its stock price.

 

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