Case | HBS Case Collection | March 2002 (Revised June 2005)

AOL Time Warner, Inc.

by Stephen P. Bradley and Erin Sullivan


AOL Time Warner, which has been billed as the "first fully integrated media and communications company of the Internet Century," raises the fundamental question of how value will be created and captured by the merger of AOL and Time Warner. This case describes just how different AOL was from Time Warner in strategy, culture, and execution, and permits a thorough analysis of how value is proposed to be created through capturing synergies within the new company. The discussion of synergies is divided into three levels: tactical, strategic, and transformational. The key question to address is whether a merger of this sort is the most effective way to create value or whether contracting and other mechanisms is equally good or perhaps superior. A rewritten version of an earlier case.

Keywords: Mergers and Acquisitions; Internet; Value Creation; Organizational Culture; Consolidation; Change Management; Telecommunications Industry; Media and Broadcasting Industry; United States;


Bradley, Stephen P., and Erin Sullivan. "AOL Time Warner, Inc." Harvard Business School Case 702-421, March 2002. (Revised June 2005.)