Google allowed to sell AOL stake Tuesday

Two years ago, Google invested $1 billion for a 5 percent stake in AOL. Now it can get out, if it chooses.

Stephen Shankland principal writer
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
Expertise processors, semiconductors, web browsers, quantum computing, supercomputers, AI, 3D printing, drones, computer science, physics, programming, materials science, USB, UWB, Android, digital photography, science Credentials
  • I've been covering the technology industry for 24 years and was a science writer for five years before that. I've got deep expertise in microprocessors, digital photography, computer hardware and software, internet standards, web technology, and other dee
Stephen Shankland

Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.
Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Stephen Shankland/CNET News.com

Google, which has a 5 percent stake in Time Warner's AOL division, has the option to sell it beginning Tuesday.

Google got the stake in AOL through a 2005 deal with Time Warner under which Google invested $1 billion.

According to a Time Warner regulatory filing, Google can sell that stake if it wants, with Time Warner, which owns the remaining 95 percent of AOL, getting first crack at buying the shares.

"Beginning on July 1, 2008, Google will have the right to require AOL to register Google's 5 percent equity interest for sale in an initial public offering," the filing said.

"If Google exercises this right, Time Warner will have the right to purchase Google's equity interest for cash or shares of Time Warner common stock based on the appraised fair market value of the equity interest in lieu of conducting an initial public offering."