New Time Warner Chief Focuses on Consolidation

By Frank Ahrens
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 7, 2008

In the first five minutes of his first address as head of the world's largest media company yesterday, Time Warner chief executive Jeffrey L. Bewkes said:

¿ The company is looking to fold its New Line Cinema movie studio into the larger Warner Bros.

¿ AOL's declining Internet-access business will be split from its growing advertising business.

¿ Time Warner is working on an ownership change at Time Warner Cable, possibly completing the spinoff of the cable unit.

Then, Bewkes got on to the more prosaic news of discussing Time Warner's fourth-quarter and full-year 2007 earnings, released yesterday.

And then he took a breath.

HBO veteran Bewkes, 55, took over for Time Warner Chairman Richard D. Parsons, who stepped down as chief executive Jan. 1. Bewkes charged out of the gate yesterday, saying his remarks are "the start of a straightforward, ongoing dialogue," and adding that "I will tell you as much as I can."

He takes over a $57 billion media and entertainment company, the result of a troubled merger with AOL in 2001 that resulted in company stock losing as much as 80 percent of its value. Time Warner shares have fallen 7 percent in the past year.

Bewkes addressed the stock slide right off the bat yesterday, saying he is working to "increase the value of the company and the stock price."

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