AOL Time Warner drops AOL from name

In a widely anticipated move that has been rumored for months to be in the offing, the board of AOL Time Warner Inc. on Thursday voted to drop the AOL from the company name.

Within a few weeks, the company will be legally called Time Warner Inc., with the TWX ticker symbol on the New York Stock Exchange, the company said in a statement after a board meeting in New York.

The name change "better reflects the portfolio" of businesses and brands and will distinguish the corporate entity of Time Warner from the America Online Internet division, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dick Parsons said in the statement.

Various published reports in recent months in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have quoted sources saying the name change would happen. The reports also have cited e-mail reportedly sent from AOL head Jon Miller to his staff saying that the AOL brand would benefit if it were not part of the corporate name.

Flagging growth, accounting problems and staff turmoil have dogged AOL since it bought Time Warner in 2001 in what then seemed an astonishing deal of an Internet service provider, albeit the world's largest, buying an entertainment-publishing monolith. Time Warner owns the CNN cable news network, a large list of magazines, including Time, Sports Illustrated and People, and has businesses in cable TV, film and music.

From the start, though, analysts questioned how the two companies would pull off such a merger, how various executive personalities would merge and whether the pairing would be successful.

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