Mum's the Word at Time Warner
With Dick Parsons on his way out at Time Warner (TWX), AOL continues to be a drag on the media giant as questions surrounding its future swirl.
Time Warner met Wall Street's expectations with its third-quarter earnings report, but its shares edged lower amid a selloff in the broader stock market. The company's cable and film divisions carried results as its beleaguered Web business continued to lag.
After Time Warner finally made it official this week that Parsons, its CEO, will be replaced by President and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Bewkes at the end of the year, investors are sensing that strategic and structural change could be at hand at the company.
Bewkes -- billed as the media industry's next Bob Iger, who took over amid turmoil for Michael Eisner at Disney (DIS) -- is keeping his cards close to his vest."We're not going to telegraph our decisions in advance," said Bewkes on the company's post-earnings conference call, as he took questions from analysts about whether Time Warner will spin off the rest of its cable business or even cut AOL loose. "We're aware that the questions are out there, but now is not an appropriate time to discuss it." Parsons, who will remain at Time Warner as the company's chairman after he hands over the CEO reins, predicted double-digit growth in earnings per share for the media conglomerate starting in 2008.
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