Stock prices and questions raised at Warner Bros.

Paul Clinton

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

Times.

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

Services.

Investors have worried that the acquisition of Time Warner could prove

to be a drain on an Internet company that has enjoyed rare success,

Tapang said.

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."

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