Time Warner Inc said it would split AOL's dial-up Internet and advertising businesses into separate divisions by early 2009, a move that could make a sale or merger of either business easier.
The media conglomerate also reported a lower quarterly profit, dragged by AOL, but it still edged past Wall Street expectations on strong ad sales from its cable TV networks such as CNN and films like "Sex and the City."
The AOL split underscores Time Warner's focus on creating content rather than distributing it. "As we continue to reshape Time Warner, we'll increasingly focus on our goal to create and manage high-quality branded content," Chief Executive Jeffrey Bewkes said.
The company has said it plans to shed its cable services division, Time Warner Cable, by the end of the year, in a separation that will yield a $9.25 billion payment from its cable division.