SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc's 5 percent stake in Time Warner Inc's AOL unit may be worth less than the $1 billion the Web company paid for it in 2006, Google warned in a regulatory filing on Thursday.
"We believe our investment in AOL may be impaired," Google said in its latest quarterly financial filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Google said it would continue to review its investment for impairment, and financial write-downs could be required in the future.
In a deal announced in December 2005 and which closed the following year, Google paid $1 billion in cash for a 5 percent indirect equity stake in AOL.
The deal by the Mountain View, California-based company gave AOL a theoretical valuation of $20 billion at the time.
Google invested that money at the time in order to hold on to AOL search contract that probably made more than 1 bln - it certainly helped keep Microsoft away so this investment might have been very good one in fact.