Steve Case: A Comeback from the “Worst Merger Ever”

23 Aug

How about this interesting timeline?

CNN report from January 2000: “In a stunning development, America Online Inc. announced plans to acquire Time Warner Inc. for roughly $182 billion in stock and debt Monday, creating a digital media powerhouse with the potential to reach every American in one form or another. With dominating positions in the music, publishing, news, entertainment, cable and Internet industries, the combined company, called AOL Time Warner, will boast unrivaled assets among other media and online companies.”

CNET report from May 2009: “The separation of AOL from Time Warner will put a final nail in the coffin of one of the emblematic mergers of the dot-com boom and bust. Within a year of the merger (in January 2001), however, it was already apparent that the union of new and old media was not as ‘supercharged’ as its backers had promised. By September 2003, things had gone so poorly with the merger, and specifically with AOL’s dwindling dominance as an online portal, that AOL Time Warner dropped ‘AOL’ from its name, and became just Time Warner. In subsequent years, AOL has continued to struggle. Consumers have dropped their dial-up subscriptions in droves as broadband access became more widely available and they became more comfortable navigating the Internet on their own.”

Businessweek report from August 2013: “A decade ago, the notion that Steve Case would be celebrated by businesspeople of any description might have seemed laughable. At the peak of the Internet bubble, he engineered a merger with Time Warner that, while highly profitable for Case and other AOL insiders, quickly became known as the most disastrous in corporate history, with more than $200 billion in shareholder value destroyed. Business school students still learn about it as a case study in hubris and magical thinking. Yet it’s now clear that Case not only survived a debacle that would have ruined the careers of other executives—and did—but is also thriving again, in a self-made role that in some ways makes him more influential than ever. How Case pulled this off—how he went from corporate punching bag to tech industry role model and Washington wise man—is partly about America’s endless capacity to forgive entrepreneurs. It’s partly a reminder that billionaires write their own rules. But mostly it’s about Case’s refusal to internalize much, if any, fault for what went wrong.”

Click the image to read more from Businessweek.

 

 

2 Responses to “Steve Case: A Comeback from the “Worst Merger Ever””

  1. Chas R. II August 25, 2013 at 9:13 am #

    Perhaps he could get a job as mayor of San Diego or run for Comptroller of NYC.

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    […] How about this interesting timeline? CNN report from January 2000: "In a stunning development, America Online Inc. announced plans to acquire Time Warner Inc. for roughly $182 billion in stock and …  […]

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