AOL Time Warner


released a whopper of an earnings report today, issuing numbers for AOL, for Time Warner and for the newly combined media juggernaut. There are lots of numbers and lots of pages.

Bottom line: AOL beat analyst estimates by a penny, reporting per-share earnings of 15 cents and topping the 14 cents per share expected by the 23 analysts polled by earnings tracker

First Call/Thomson Financial

. That's up from 9 cents a share in the year-ago quarter. Accounting for charges and the writedown of certain investments, the company earned 1 cent a share, compared to 11 cents in the year-ago quarter.

The Internet giant said its revenues for the latest quarter reached $2.1 billion and that the $741 million in advertising, commerce and certain other revenue was a record. At the end of 2000, AOL had 26.7 million subscribers.

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Time Warner, on the other hand, earned only 18 cents a share, down from 20 cents a share in the year-ago quarter. In December, Time Warner reduced expectations for 2000 growth to reflect the poor box office performance of "Little Nicky," softness in cable advertising revenue and weaker-than-expected music sales.

Combined, the companies said they earned 28 cents in the fourth quarter, compared to 24 cents in the last quarter of 1999. When merger costs and other expenses are included, the combined company lost 25 cents a share in the last quarter of 2000, compared to a loss of 5 cents in the year-ago period.

The media giant's merger was completed January 11.

The company said it will issue guidance later. Today, it holds a daylong confab for analysts and major investors.'s

George Mannes took a look at what will be

served up.

Though AOL has already announced substantial layoffs, shuffled some executives, publicized various joint ventures and made preliminary financial forecasts, this is AOL Time Warner's big opportunity to discuss the opportunities and goals for the newly merged company. So analysts and investors expect the company to spend most of its time outlining operational philosophies and discussing the yardsticks by which its executives believe Wall Street should judge it this year and beyond.

So far, investors seem to be judging the company kindly. AOL's stock is up 55% for the year, though it was down 86 cents Tuesday at $54.14. It was edging higher in preopen trading.