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No. of Recommendations: 4
AOL investors have been seduced by the internet glamour. AOL is a $27 stock to be. I have persistantly maintained that AOL should be treated more like a digital magazine. They are not the next Microsoft. Microsoft could defend it's Patents through litigation keeping competition out. AOL is leading mostly because of STYLE and being one of the pioneers. This doesn't translate to the type of profits that justify it's valuation.
The justifications that I consistantly hear from AOL proponents are naive. Yes, I believe that AOL is a good company. I also believe that AOL will be around for years to come. That doesn't have anything to do with valuations. "AOL has IM ownership". So what? How much does AOL charge per IM usage? $0.00
"25 million AOL subscribers can't be wrong". Again, so what? Readers Digest (RDA) has about 100 million people who pay for it's magazine + THEY also make money from advertising. Reader's Digest has what is considered to be one of the worlds most extensive and best consumer databases.
Reader's Digest is Global and has 49 editions, published in 19 different languages.
Reader's Digest is a diversified publisher of books, music, videos and TV movies.
RDA is an institution that has stood the test of time.
And finally, Reader's Digest is trading for about 20x earnings.
I contend that it would be less absurd for RDA to buy TWX than for AOL to do so.
Again, Levin should be ousted for falling prey to this speculative bubble, and if anything, TWX should make a hostile bid for AOL. Popularity and a high subscriber rate is not comparable to the intrinsic value contained within TWX. History will prove that this speculative period was one in which even the elite threw in the proverbial towel and abandoned common sense, as was the case in 17th century Holland with the "tulip bulb craze", as was the case with the vending machine craze in the 1960's when vending machine oriented stock typically ran from $500 to $200.00 within a year. "Those who don't learn from history are condemned to repeat it".

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