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AOL shares down

NEW YORK, Dec 11 – Shares of AOL fell on Thursday as the Internet pioneer returned to Wall Street following its spinoff by media and entertainment giant Time Warner.

AOL shares shed 0.63 percent on the New York Stock Exchange to close at 23.52 dollars. Shares of Time Warner gained 4.25 percent to close at 30.45 dollars.

AOL finalized its divorce from Time Warner on Wednesday, ending one of the most disastrous corporate marriages in history.

While the AOL of 2001 was worth as much as 165 billion dollars, prior to the bursting of the dotcom bubble, AOL\’s current market capitalization is just 2.45 billion dollars.

AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong, who was hired away from Google in March, told financial analysts on Wednesday that the newly independent AOL would focus on "content, ads and communications."

The company is currently the number four gateway to the Web after Google, Microsoft and Yahoo!, while its dial-up Internet access business has been gradually supplanted by high-speed broadband services.

AOL last month announced plans to cut 2,500 jobs, more than one-third of its workforce, in a bid to save 300 million dollars.

Time Warner combined with America Online in 2001 at the height of the dotcom boom with AOL using its inflated stock as currency for the transaction.

Time Warner was forced in 2002 to massively write down the value of AOL and the AOL name was removed from the group\’s corporate title in 2003.

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