|Steve Case apologizes:|
AOL founder says he is 'sorry' for Time Warner merger
Mon Jul 24, 2006 11:57am ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Steve Case, co-founder of the one-time biggest online service AOL, apologized for the company's merger with media conglomerate Time Warner Inc. in an interview with U.S. journalist Charlie Rose.
In an interview broadcast on Friday, Case, who was shoved aside as chairman in 2003 and who left the board entirely in 2005, said, "Yes, I'm sorry I did it," referring to the 2001 merger of Time Warner and AOL.
The deal, known as one of the worst corporate mergers in history, destroyed some $200 billion in shareholder value.
Last October, Case argued in a Washington Post article that AOL should be split from Time Warner, echoing sentiments shared by billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who earlier this year sought to break up the world's largest media company to boost shareholder value.
Although Case called the deal's aftermath a "disappointment," he said he still believed it was "a good idea," according to the interview with Rose.
"I'm disappointed and frustrated that it hasn't developed in the way that we all hoped at the time it could," Case told Rose.
Time Warner is expected to discuss a new strategy for AOL on August 2, after it reports its second-quarter financial statement. Sources have said the company is exploring a plan to give away AOL services for free to users who already have an Internet connection. It does not plan to give away dial-up Internet service.
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