AOL Inc, due to be spun out of Time Warner Inc on Dec. 9, almost a decade after their merger, looks like a bargain, Barron's reported in its Nov. 30 edition.
Shares in the struggling Web pioneer, which is now focused primarily on advertising-supported content, began trading on a when-issued basis on the New York Stock Exchange last Tuesday at $27, and fell to $23 on Friday -- a level Barron's said valued the company at less than $2.4 billion.
The December spin-off was expected to value AOL's market capitalization at around $3 billion.
When AOL's plan to merge with Time Warner was announced in January 2000, the Internet company was valued at $163 billion. The combination was meant to herald the future of content distribution via the Internet, but the promised benefits were never achieved.
Barron's said that while AOL's top-line growth was limited, its dial-up Internet business yielded ample cash. The company's recent plans to lay off more than a third of its staff was also likely to boost profitability and cash flow, it said.
It also cited other reports saying AOL had been shopping a few of its businesses, including social network Bebo and online mapping site Mapquest. Such sales could lift the stock, Barron's said.
(Editing by Maureen Bavdek)