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AOL Preparing For Advertising IPO?

Time Warner may be preparing to spin off AOL's advertising businesses through an IPO early next year. All of those businesses have been grouped together under the name "Platform A," which includes the collection of outward-looking ad networks that AOL has bought over the past few years: Advertising.com, Tacoda, Third Screen Media, Lightningcast, and AdTech.

Platform A is AOL's way of turning itself inside-out and refocusing on serving ads outside of AOL across the Web. The former CEO of Tacoda, Curtis Viebranz, will be heading up Platform A. AOL declines to comment on the potential of an IPO, but did say: "The introduction of Platform A marks a significant change in how we operate-putting AOL's overall network in front of our advertising sales strategy."

To prepare for a possible IPO, AOL will soon fold the ad sales people who currently sell inventory across AOL.com (the group Mike Kelly oversaw) into Platform A, which is primarily driven by revenues from Advertising.com. In other words, AOL's money-making focus will shift from selling ads on its own Web properties to selling ads on other Web sites.

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