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Dial-Up Internet In Liberty Media's Future?

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Is dial-up Internet the wave of the future? Well, no. But don't tell Liberty Media.

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Before wireless and broadband, cable and DSL, there was the beloved dial-up Internet connection. While the era of 14.4, 28.8, and 56.6 may seem entirely antiquated, millions of Internet users still rely on these slower-than-molasses modems to get online. That's why Liberty Media Corp. (LINTA) announced that it is open to discussing a deal to exchange its stake in Time Warner Inc. (TWX) for its AOL dial-up Internet business.

Time Warner is considering the sale after removing dial-up from its core advertising business, according to the Wall Street Journal. Liberty Media's CEO, John Mallone, said that picking up dial-up in exchange for its shares in Time Warner could be a profitable option, offering a tax-efficient deal for both parties.

"Clearly an exit from the Time Warner equity stake into a cash-generating asset would be attractive, but at the current time, none have been proposed that we could take action on," Malone said on a conference call.

Liberty Media currently holds a 2.3% stake in Time Warner. Its other investments include holdings in the television networks QVC and Starz, and websites BodyBuilding.com and Expedia, Inc. Liberty Media reported a rise in second-quarter revenue across all of its business units.

The question on everyone's mind, of course, is just how profitable dial-up Internet could be in the year 2008. As the Internet becomes more video heavy, dial-up connections are become more obsolete. So would an investment in dial-up be akin to an investment in cassette players or Wang computers? Or does Liberty Media know something we don't…

Join Hoofy and Boo as they take a closer look at Liberty Media and the dial-up industry.

No positions in stocks mentioned.

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