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AOL Europe may go public

But questions remain about Bertelsmann's continued partnership with merged AOL Time Warner

Bertelsmann and America Online are rumoured to be planning an initial public offering for their jointly-owned venture AOL Europe, according to a report in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal.

The planned merger between AOL and Time Warner, announced Monday, gives the joint venture access to Warner content and programming. This could increase the possible value of the company if floated.

But the merger creates serious questions about Bertelsmann's ongoing alliance with AOL Time Warner. Germany's Bertelsmann, involved in traditional media as well as online ventures such as barnesandnoble.com, is seen as a direct competitor to Time Warner.

Neither company was prepared to comment on any proposed plans, the Wall Street Journal said.

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