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Friday, October 14, 2005
AOL Sale Talk is "Market Rumor": CEO


Time Warner's chief executive said on Thursday that news of a possible sale of a stake in its America Online (AOL) unit to Google and Comcast was "market rumor."

Richard Parsons, on a visit to Hong Kong, also said there were no plans for a tie-up with Microsoft's search-engine technology.

"It's market rumors, and I can't curb market rumors," Parsons said at a luncheon on Thursday, declining further comment. He said Time Warner had no plans for an alliance with Microsoft .

The two companies were reported to be in talks on combining AOL's content with Microsoft's MSN technology, according to an October 7 report in the Wall Street Journal.

Time Warner and Microsoft discussed an alliance earlier this year, but negotiations broke off over a range of issues including technical obstacles and questions about control.

Time Warner is interested in expanding operations in mainland China and India, Parsons said, with India's market more inviting.

"India, I think, offers more current potential for us as it has a stronger rule of law culture," he said.

The obstacles in India are largely technical due to a lack of infrastructure, but there are fewer regulatory and cultural hurdles to overcome than in China, he said.

"I think gradually, gradually, they'll open up in their way," he said, referring to the Chinese market.


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