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Google can sell AOL stake as early as July 2008

Google Inc., the online media giant, will be able to sell its pending 5 percent stake in Time Warner Inc.'s AOL Internet unit as early as July 2008 according to Google's recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
/ Source: Reuters

Google Inc., the online media giant, will be able to sell its pending 5 percent stake in Time Warner Inc.'s AOL Internet unit as early as July 2008 according to Google's recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Under the agreement for the purchase of the $1 billion stake, Google has the right as of July 1, 2008, to require a public offering of its stake, according to Google's filing on Friday with the SEC.

The deal gives Time Warner the right to buy Google's stake for stock or cash in lieu of a public offering, according to the filing.

On December 20, America Online said Google had agreed to invest $1 billion to take a 5 percent stake. The deal is part of a pact for Google to move beyond text-based advertising to allow AOL to sell graphical ads to Google's fast-growing ad network.

The stake effectively valued AOL at $20 billion, a key benchmark should Time Warner elect to spin off or sell a part of its Internet unit in response to dissident shareholder Carl Icahn's proxy campaign to break up the company.