Time Warner may sell AOL in the next 18 months because of a “challenging” profit outlook at the Internet unit, said Bear Stearns & Co. analyst Spencer Wang.
AOL may be worth more than $20 billion and provide a catalyst for Time Warner’s stock, Wang said yesterday in a research note. He raised his rating to “outperform” from “peer perform.”
Wang is the second analyst in as many weeks to speculate about a possible sale of AOL, which stopped charging for some features last year to build ad revenue as Internet subscribers wane. Aryeh Bourkoff of UBS AG said March 15 that the unit may be spun off or merged with a rival.
Time Warner, whose CEO is Dick Parsons, declined to comment on Wang’s note.