Cash Management

Time Warner Boosts Buyback to $12.5B

However, the buyback still falls far short of demands by a number of activist investors, led by Carl Icahn, that the company repurchase $20 billion...
Stephen TaubNovember 2, 2005

Time Warner Inc. announced that it will more than double its planned stock repurchase program, to $12.5 billion over the next 21 months.

“With our strong balance sheet, industry-leading free cash flow, and solid earnings, we can expand our stock buyback while still having the resources to invest meaningfully in future growth as well as to pay our regular quarterly cash dividend,” said chairman and chief executive officer Dick Parsons, in a statement.

Time Warner also announced very strong results for the most recent quarter. The media giant reported that earnings surged 80 percent on a 6.1 percent increase in revenue; the company also reported double-digit profit growth at its Cable and Networks businesses.

However, the buyback still falls far short of demands by a number of activist investors, led by Carl Icahn, that the company repurchase $20 billion worth of stock.

The corporate raider has also criticized the tenure of board members associated with the company’s ill-fated merger with AOL; earlier this week, AOL co-founder Steve Case resigned from Time Warner’s board. In addition, Icahn wants the company to spin off its entire cable business; but so far Time Warner has agreed to spin off only 16 percent.

Meanwhile, Cablevision Systems Corp. approved management’s pursuing a proposal from the Dolan family, which controls the cable giant, to issue a one-time special dividend of $3 billion. The dividend was proposed last week at the same time that the Dolans withdrew their plan to take the company private.