MEDIA DISTRICT WEST -- As the dust settles from the Time Warner Inc.
and America Online mega-merger, studio officials at Warner Bros. said it
was too early to pinpoint how Burbank operations would be affected.
"Tell me when you find out," joked Barbara Brogliatti, the studio's
director of corporate communications.
Warner Chairman and CEO Barry Meyer said it's likely little or nothing
would change at the company's Burbank studios. Meyer also said the merger
will give Warner Bros. greater opportunities to market its films,
television shows and other original entertainment.
"This has increased our spectrum geometrically, increased our platform
to distribute proprietary creative content," Meyer told The Los Angeles
News of the $163-million merger, the largest in U.S. history, did have
a substantial effect on the stock market, much to the benefit of Warner
Bros. employees and others who hold Time Warner shares.
Stock of Time Warner -- which counts Warner Bros., CNN and Time
magazine among its assets -- soared from its Jan. 7 closing at $64.75 to
$92.25 when trading stopped Monday. After several days of fluctuation,
the stock closed Thursday at $84, down from Monday but still up 29.7%
from a week earlier.
On the other hand, AOL stock has dropped 11.5% from its Jan. 7 closing
price of $73.75. AOL closed Thursday at $65.25.
"It is perceived as much more beneficial to Warner," said Maria
Tapang, a financial planner at Burbank-based Raymond James Financial
Investors have worried that the acquisition of Time Warner could prove
to be a drain on an Internet company that has enjoyed rare success,
But Tapang said she viewed the merger as positive for both companies.
She predicted the stock will stabilize once financial analysts take an
in-depth look at the situation.
"The euphoria has just hyped everything," Tapang said. "Then people
will have time to sit down and think about it."