Time Warner

(TWX)

may pair up its cable operation with its America Online unit in an initial public offering next year, according to a report in the

New York Post

.

The report comes at a time when AOL is pushing free content on the Web, marking a big shift in strategy at the shrinking online property. The report cites sources as saying Time Warner will wait to see how the re-launched online service fares before making a firm decision.

Time Warner chief Dick Parsons has been firm in saying that AOL, which has lost millions of subscribers in recent years, is not for sale. The unit, which still spins off significant cash for the media giant, however, could front an IPO.

According to the

Post

story, the cable unit and AOL previously have not been mentioned in combination with one another. A Time Warner spokesman denied any plan to combine the two units in the Post story.

The possibility presents itself at a time when more large media companies are considering disassembly.

Viacom

(VIAB) - Get Report

Tuesday approved a plan to split in to two separate companies, while

Clear Channel

(CCU) - Get Report

has indicated it has similar intentions.

Synergies do exist between Time Warner Cable and AOL, since both are distributors of content and the cable division provides high-speed Internet access.

Time Warner and

Comcast

(CMCSA) - Get Report

jointly bid for bankrupt cable company Adelphia earlier this year in a deal expected to close at the end of the year.