Investment Firm Cuts Its AOL Stake from 10.3% to 3.7%

Tim Armstrong - AOL Buys Huffington Post conference - 2011
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The sale of stock in the online company comes as Wall Street observers have debated the outlook for AOL and its turnaround plans under the leadership of CEO Tim Armstrong.

NEW YORK - Investment firm FMR LLC, the parent of Fidelity Management & Research Co., has slashed its stake in AOL to less than 5 percent, according to a regulatory filing on Tuesday.

It had raised its stake in AOL to 10.32 percent in July when the stock was trading around $20. As of noon on Tuesday, the stock was up 1 percent at $13.20.

The sale of AOL stock by the finance company comes as Wall Street observers have debated the outlook for AOL, whose stock hit a 52-week low of $10.06 in August after the online company, led by CEO Tim Armstrong, reduced some financial guidance for 2011. Some took that as a sign that the company's turnaround wasn't going as smoothly as they had hoped.

The Securities and Exchange Commission requires companies to disclose when they hold more than 5 percent in a publicly traded company and when they fall below that threshold. Companies don't have to disclose reasons for reducing their  stake though.

In Tuesday's filing, Fidelity parent FMR LLC said the firm now beneficially owns 3,999,679 shares, or a 3.739 percent stake in AOL.

An AOL spokeswoman had no comment on the stock sale.

AOL recently unveiled a big push into professional online video to further drive Web traffic and advertising revenue.


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