says it will continue to look at acquisitions even as it buys back $20 billion worth of stock.
Finance chief Wayne Pace, speaking in London at a Merrill Lynch media conference, told investors that "we have a healthy appetite for acquisitions." Pace says the media conglomerate is constantly on the lookout for businesses that complement existing ones at Time Warner.
Pace said there is "no slowdown" in connection with any of the other capital allocations the company is committed to, and that all divisions have been instructed to look out for assets that bolster their competitive positions.
Pace reiterated that while
is a "great company," acquiring it would be "frankly, too large for us to do." He says the Spanish-language media giant is not something Time Warner is looking at. Univision put itself up for sale in February and is being actively pursued by two private equity-led bidding groups. Bids were originally due this week, but were postponed two weeks when the bidders requested more information from the company.
Pace did say that negotiations involving the sale of the
Major League Baseball team were continuing with
. If terms are reached between the two sides, proceeds would be used to fund part of the Time Warner buyback.
And speculation about whether the company might offload AOL Europe is "premature" according to Pace, who says the business is doing well. He did acknowledge that the company is evaluating opportunities where the division is concerned, though. AOL Europe had $1.9 billion in revenue last year. About 10% of Time Warner's overall revenue in 2005 was generated from European operations.
On Thursday, Time Warner shares closed down 21 cents at $17.40.