AOL, Time Warner announce breakup

Eight years ago, riding high on the dot-com bubble, AOL purchased Time Warner for a mind-blowing $106 billion. Today, MarketWatch says Time Warner has announced a plan to divorce itself from the ailing Internet services and media business.

According to MarketWatch, Time Warner intends to buy back Google's 5% stake in AOL, giving it full ownership once again. With that taken care of, Time Warner will spin off AOL to shareholders—a process that should be complete by the end of this year.

From that point on, AOL will operate as an "independent, publicly traded company" (instead of a fully owned Time Warner subsidiary, as it is now). Former Google advertising executive Tim Armstrong, who became AOL CEO in March, will remain at the helm of the business. Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes believes the split will help his company increase its focus on "core content businesses."

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