Time Warner makes progress on AOL separation - Report

The media giant is expected to announce Wednesday that it has finished an accounting exercise that will help analysts - and possible suitors - assign value to AOL.

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Time Warner is expected to announce Wednesday that it has completed the accounting steps required to eventually separate AOL's dial-up Internet-access business from its advertising and content business, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

The exercise has been in the works for months, a key step in what could ultimately be the sale of one or both of the Time Warner divisions. At issue was how revenue and liabilities would be accounted for between the two AOL businesses, the Journal said.

The dial-up unit provides Internet access to 8.7 million subscribers and provides a steady steady stream of cash, but the business is declining.

The advertising and content unit, meanwhile, is thought to have greater value that Time Warner (TWX, Fortune 500) hopes to showcase to analysts and potential suitors.

Time Warner, which owns CNNMoney.com, is due to release its second-quarter results Wednesday.

The Journal also reported that Time Warner continues to be in informal talks with both Microsoft and Yahoo regarding AOL. The Yahoo discussions are more advanced, the Journal said, and value AOL at around $10 billion, not including the access business.

The paper also reported that EarthLink, with 3.3 million dial-up subscribers, has been named a potential acquirer of the AOL access business, which analysts value at $2 billion to $3 billion, though the Journal noted that Time Warner would likely seek more. To top of page

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