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AOL Stock Hits Highest Value Since '09 on Profit Report

Wednesday, 25 July 2012 05:43 PM

AOL Inc., owner of the Huffington Post and TechCrunch, rose to its highest value since it was spun out of Time Warner Inc. in 2009, after an increase in advertising revenue and a one-time gain on a patent sale helped the company return to a profit in the second quarter.

AOL advanced 7.2 percent to $29.48 at Wednesday's close in New York. That’s the stock’s highest value since Nov. 25, 2009, when it listed shares after being separated from Time Warner. The stock has almost doubled this year.

Net income was $970.8 million, or $10.17 a share, compared with a loss of $11.8 million, or 11 cents a share, a year earlier, the New York-based company said Wednesday in a statement. Excluding some items, per-share profit was 23 cents, in line with analysts’ average estimate according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Since 2009 Chief Executive Officer Tim Armstrong has been trying to transform AOL into an ad-based publishing business. The company bought the Huffington Post for $315 million last year and invested as much as $300 million in Patch, a local-news division that Armstrong sees commanding up to $50 million in sales this year.

“If you look from a year ago to today, the company is healthier and stronger and in a good position,” Armstrong said in a telephone interview.

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AOL continues to invest in the Huffington Post as the news site plans to launch a live, online video news channel in a few months, while the company’s blogs, TechCrunch and Engadget, will expand outside the U.S., Armstrong said.

The company booked a $945.8 million gain in the second quarter on the sale of patents. Sales dropped 2 percent to $531.1 million. Analysts had estimated $519.2 million, according to Bloomberg data.

Global display advertising rose 1.7 percent to $139.9 million, while the U.S. portion was little changed. Total advertising improved 5.9 percent to $337.8 million.

AOL’s U.S. advertising revenue ranks fifth among major competitors behind Google Inc., Yahoo Inc., Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp., according to research firm EMarketer Inc.

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Wednesday, 25 July 2012 05:43 PM
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