Media Lifeline: Time Warner - The media behemoth is yet to recover from dotcom deflation

1987: Warner Brothers, a West Coast media giant, with Hollywood film studios and music industry interests, announces it is to merge with the East Coast, buttoned-down magazine publisher Time Inc, to create one of the world's largest mega media conglomerates. Observers worry that it will be difficult to make a meaningful merger of the two very different cultures involved.

1996: Time Warner's strategy shifts decisively in favour of audio-visual when it acquires Turner Broadcast System, including CNN, from Ted Turner (pictured), who stays on as vice-chairman. But it's an uncomfortable match and Turner begins criticising the board's short-term outlook.

2001: Motivated by a desire to accelerate the integration of new-media thinking into its businesses, the company engineers a merger deal with AOL. This creates the behemoth AOL Time Warner, with stock valued in excess of $165 billion. But as the dotcom bubble bursts, the new company is responsible for the biggest financial disaster in corporate history, turning in a loss of $99 billion in 2002.

2003: Steve Case (pictured), AOL's founder, announces he is to resign from his position as chairman of the company - which by now has reverted to the plain old Time Warner name. The engine for revenue growth continues to be one of the company's older businesses - cable TV.

2006: Time Warner accelerates the evolution of AOL's business model - dial-up internet service provision on a subscription basis - by offering free e-mail services to customers of rival ISPs, most of which have now completed the leap to broadband. AOL also steps up its drive to sell off European assets, in a last-ditch attempt to boost growth at AOL, whose lacklustre performance continues to deflate the Time Warner share price.

Fast forward ...

2009: Having begun selling its flagging magazine assets, Time Warner finally bites the bullet and announces a demerger. Time Inc is allowed to keep some digital content operations when it is spun off; AOL's last remaining websites are integrated into a new moving picture content division, to be renamed Warner Brothers Broadband. As the Warner share price remains sluggish, however, predators begin circling.