Time Warner Buys Back Google’s 5% Stake in AOL

When the Time Warner board voted in late May to spin off AOL, buying back Google’s 5% stake in the company would be a prerequisite for the sale. This week, Time Warner did just that.

The return on investment, however, was not so hot. Google invested $1 billion in 2005 to acquired the 5% stake. They only got back $283 million.

Other statements made in the filing are quite telling of the possibilities for AOL’s future. Google currently powers the search on AOL (including paid search). That will be in place until December 19, 2010, but they’re leaving open the possibility of ditching Google after that.

They may then strike up an agreement with an alternate search engine, such as Yahoo! or Microsoft, or Microhoo. Though, with former Google exec Tim Armstrong now running things at AOL, I’d prefer to see AOL go for broke and develop their own search engine.

AOL also plans to maintain some licensing agreements with Time Warner.

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