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Time Warner CEO Vows to Boost Stock in Icahn Meeting

From Bloomberg News

Time Warner Inc. said Chief Executive Richard Parsons met Wednesday with dissident shareholder Carl Icahn and pledged to move “as aggressively as appropriate” to bolster the company’s stock price.

At a 50-minute face-to-face meeting, Icahn and Parsons had a “frank and open exchange of views,” said Ed Adler, a spokesman for New York-based Time Warner, the world’s largest media company. He declined to elaborate.

Parsons agreed to talk with Icahn after the financier disclosed this week that he was leading a group that amassed a $2.2-billion stake in the company. The group is demanding a $20-billion share buyback and spinoff of the cable television business. Icahn’s lobbying has split investors frustrated by a 5.9% drop in the company’s stock this year and those willing to give Parsons more time.

“I trust the company will take into account” what Icahn told them during the meeting, said Greg Taxin, head of Glass, Lewis & Co., a San Francisco-based proxy advisory service. “Mr. Icahn has been extraordinarily effective with the targets of his prior actions.”

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Icahn, 69, didn’t return a call seeking comment. He and three partners -- Franklin Mutual Advisers Inc., Jana Partners and SAC Capital Advisors -- have stock and options that would give them a 2.6% stake in the company.

Because Icahn owns options in Time Warner, which have a finite life, he may have shorter-term goals for the company than other investors, said Peter Jankovskis, director of research at Lisle, Ill.-based Oakbrook Investments. Time Warner should stagger stock buybacks over time so it pays less, he said.


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