With the exception of that buzzy New York magazine cover story on Jeff Bewkes, the newly-minted Time Warner CEO has caused little turbulence in the New York media fishbowl.
The pendulum swings. At today’s Time Warner earnings call — Bewkes’ first since taking over from Dick Parsons — the CEO announced a slashing of 15 % in annual corporate costs. There will be job cuts. And Bewkes plans to split off the AOL audience and access businesses. From The Hollywood Reporter:
”Discussing his second focus on making sure TW owns the right businesses, Bewkes said the company is starting talks with TWC about how to possibly restructure their current relationship. TW owns 84% in TWC, and many analysts have predicted, the company could sell a bigger stake or all of it over time. Bewkes and his CFO John Martin though signaled Wednesday that TW could also buy in TWC again.
”TWC is ‘substantially undervalued,’ Bewkes argued, but the current structure is ‘less than optimal for both’ given that the cable business is much more capital intensive. He predicted a decision would be reached by its next earnings conference call in late April.
”AOL has also long been rumored to be up for a possible spinoff or sale, and Bewkes said Wednesday he plans to separate its audience and access businesses to position both to take advantage of possible deals. While he didn’t specify possible options, he signaled there could be ‘arrangements with other companies.”’
The Wall Street Journal notes, ”A strategic shift for Time Warner’s publishing business was notably absent Wednesday, and Mr. Bewkes said the company is a leader in the publishing business and continues to think the business has ‘real promise.”’
Time Warner shares at post time are up $0.44 or $2.86%, at $15.84.