Parsons Won't Pump Stock Price


Defending himself against harsh attacks by investor Carl Icahn, Time Warner CEO Dick Parsons said the company will not simply employ tactics that are “the flavor of the day” to increase the company’s stock price.

During a conference call to discuss the company’s fourth quarter earnings, Parsons did not cite Icahn by name, but his remarks were clearly aimed at the investor and his various proposals to break the company up into as many as four pieces, load up on debt, and quickly buy back $20 billion worth of stock in the open market.

That doubtless would increase the value of the stock and options held by Icahn and investors backing his attack on the company.

Says Parsons: “We cannot and will not experiment with the flavor of the day in the mere hope that it might work or simply because we are inpatient with the markets' pacing in recognizing the intrinsic value of our related businesses.

"Our Board of Directors and management are confident that we are on the right course to provide a highly attractive return, while building businesses that will have enduring value for all of our shareholders for years to come.”

He added that, “if I can be allowed one moment of immodesty, no one can run these businesses better than the current management is running them.”

During the fourth quarter, Time Warner Cable remained the standout, increasing revenue 13% to $2.5 billion, while though operating cash flow increased at a slower pace, up 9% to $969 million.

TV networks increased revenue just 6% to $2.4 billion, largely because of a decline at The WB.

The company doesn’t offer full details, but notes that Turner Broadcasting’s cable networks increased ad sales by 12%, but The WB dragged the TV division ad growth down to 6%.

But when it comes to operating cash flow, even The WB couldn’t offset the division’s strengths. Total cash flow zoomed 22% to $811 million.

Companywide revenue increaseed 7% to $11 billion, while cash flow increased 18% to $2.8 billion.