Time Warner to Report Loss for 2008

Media giant will take $25-billion hit due to poor market conditions at cable, publishing and AOL units

Time Warner said this morning it will take a non-cash impairment charge of $25 billion because of poor market conditions at its cable, publishing and AOL units.

The move will result in a loss for the company in 2008, the company said in a statement this morning.

The new outlook comes ahead of full year results which will be reported on February 4. Company CFO John Martin is expected to expand on today’s news at a Citi investor conference Wednesday afternoon.

Time Warner’s updated business outlook named three circumstances expected to chop an estimated $370 million from revenue for 2008. First, a judgment against Turner Broadcasting System over the sale of its winter sports teams, which resulted in a charge of $280 million. A tenant in the Time & Life Building in New York went bankrupt, costing the company $50 million. And finally the company increased reserves by $40 million to cover potential credit losses for Time Warner customers who have declared bankruptcy.

Morgan Stanley media analyst, Benjamin Swinburne, sees modest impact from the announcement, writing in a note tdoay, “We highlight that Time Warner has low advertising exposure relative to it peers, at 19% overall and 26% excluding Time Warner Cable…We expect Time Warner will continue to outgrow its peers in 2009.”

Time Warner Cable also said it would take a $15 billion non-cash impairment charge and also report a loss for 2008.