AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL), the No. 7 website, got a tepid response from investors Thursday, the start of a $400 million Dutch auction tender offer.

The New York-based website received about $1.05 billion selling patents to Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), the world's biggest software company, and wants to return the proceeds to shareholders.

Under the tender, AOL said it will buy back shares between July 28 and Aug. 2 for between $27 and $30. Shares of AOL rose only 19 cents to $27.50 in Thursday trading.

AOL management defeated activist shareholder Starboard Value Management in a proxy fight on June 14. Starboard had criticized CEO Tim Armstrong for failing to maximize shareholder value.

AOL shares have gained nearly 83 percent this year.