There have been rumours for a while now, but Time Warner has finally taken a step that pundits say could signal that it is going to sell AOL.

The company has announced that it is going to split AOL into two divisions by early next year.

These are to be AOL's dial-up internet business on one hand and its advertising operation on the other.

The company explained that this is part of a plan to start focusing on creating content rather than bolstering its distribution business.

Time Warner Chief Jeffrey Bewkes said in a statement: "As we continue to reshape Time Warner, we'll increasingly focus on our goal to create and manage high-quality branded content."

But analysts are predicting that, as well as a change in Time Warner's focus, the split could signal it is getting ready to sell one or both of the newly created businesses.

Earthlink has signalled to its investors that it could buy the dial-up business while Time Warner is allegedly still in talks with Yahoo and Microsoft over possible sales or merger plans.