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Time Warner Profit Falls; Soft AOL Results

Adjusted income from continuing operations in the first quarter was 45 cents a share, beating the estimate of analysts.

Updated from 6:30 a.m. EDT

Media company

Time Warner


reported first-quarter earnings of $661 million, or 55 cents a share, down from year-earlier profit of $771 million, or 64 cents a share, as revenue fell 7% to $6.95 billion because of decreases at the company's AOL, publishing and filmed entertainment segments.

Adjusted income from continuing operations in the first quarter was 45 cents a share, down from 48 cents a share a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected time Warner to earn 38 cents a share in the first quarter.

"I'm pleased that our content group grew adjusted (operating income before depreciation and amortization) by 3% during the quarter -- despite a challenging economic environment that's affecting all of our businesses, particularly advertising at our AOL and publishing segments. Our results keep us firmly on track to achieve our full-year business outlook," said CEO Jeff Bewkes in a statement Wednesday.

The content group is made up of the networks, filmed entertainment, publishing and corporate segments. Revenue in the group fell 4% in the quarter.>P/>Time Warner, the owner of Time magazine, Turner Broadcasting and HBO, continues to expect its 2009 full-year adjusted earnings to be flat compared with adjusted earnings of $1.98 a share in 2008.

Analysts forecast profit of $1.96 per share.

Aside from deteriorating ad sales at its AOL and publishing units, Time Warner, which spun off

Time Warner Cable


in March, said lower DVD sales at its filmed entertainment division also squeezed results.

Time Warner sliced its net debt to $10.4 billion from $20.7 billion at the end of 2008, primarily because the spinoff of Time Warner Cable resulted in a one-time dividend payout of $9.25 billion to Time Warner.

The separation is expected to help the parent company concentrate on its strengths in content, especially if it can also shed all or part of AOL, acquired as part of AOL's $106 billion purchase of Time Warner in 2001.

Bewkes said in a statement that the company is currently "working to determine the right ownership structure for AOL."

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