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RealTime IT News

Bill for AOL Restructuring, Acquisition Nears $1 Billion

AOL Time Warner Wednesday revealed that the merger between America Online Inc. and Time Warner -- the largest merger in history -- cost the company nearly $1 billion in post-merger activities.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday, the company recorded a "restructuring liability" of $965 million, of which $565 million were from work force reductions and employee termination benefits. The filing said cash payments will continue for some time, as some employees had the option of deferring termination benefits for up to 24 months.

The company made termination payments of about $40 million in the first quarter, and said the remaining liability of about $525 million was mostly classified as a current liability in the balance sheet as of March 31.

The company also wrote off about $70 million -- mostly related to the AOL segment of the restructuring plans -- in the first quarter. AOL Time Warner said remaining costs connected to the restructuring plan were assumed in the merger and were part of the cost to acquire Time Warner.

The remaining $400 million of the charge was primarily from lease and contract termination costs, according to the filing. The company plans to consolidate or exit under-performing operations like the Warner Brothers Studio Store of its filmed entertainment business or the World Championship Wrestling operations of its networks business.

The filing also left the door open for a broadening of the restructuring plans if deemed necessary.