AOL Time Warner to drop 'AOL' name

Media conglomerate AOL Time Warner plans to remove "AOL" from its corporate name on Thursday--and revert to its former stock symbol, according to reports.

Tech Culture
Media conglomerate AOL Time Warner plans to drop "AOL" from its corporate name on Thursday, according to reports.

Citing people close to the board, The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the corporation's board of directors is scheduled to approve the name change at a meeting in New York on Thursday. The name AOL Time Warner was adopted after the merger of America Online and Time Warner in 2001.

Last month, the company confirmed that it was considering a name change.

The decision to drop "AOL" from the corporate name is not a precursor to a sale or spinoff of the America Online division, the newspaper said, citing sources. AOL Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons strongly supports the change and intends to move quickly to implement it, the newspaper added.

An AOL representative could not be immediately reached for comment early Wednesday.

The company also plans to change its logo and revert to the "TWX" stock-ticker symbol that Time Warner used before its merger with AOL, The Washington Post said.

AOL Time Warner had been considering the name change for several weeks after a request from its online unit.

Heralded as an industry-transforming combination of traditional media with Internet businesses, the merger has been criticized for falling short of expectations.

Once the crown jewel of the media empire, the online unit is now the target of government investigations into accounting of some of its advertising deals. AOL Time Warner shares have declined by two-thirds since the merger.

Keen to pare down an estimated $25 billion in debt, AOL Time Warner said Tuesday it agreed to sell its Atlanta Hawks basketball team, Atlanta Thrashers hockey team and the operating rights to Philips Arena to a private Atlanta investment group in a deal valued at $250 million.

Story Copyright  © 2003 Reuters Limited.  All rights reserved.

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