Take That, Carl Icahn!
Time Warner produced some heavy ammunition Wednesday to defend itself in its battle with dissident shareholder Carl Icahn -- a fourth-quarter report showing a 21-percent boost in profit to $1.4 billion, up from $1.1 billion a year ago. The results were significantly above analysts' expectations. The company in particular credited strong performances by its cable networks, cable system, and AOL for the increase. However, filmed entertainment was down 13 percent, largely due to the fact that its Warner Bros. unit had nothing to match the success of last year's Lord of the Rings film; nevertheless, it noted, the company saw outstanding results from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. In a conference call with analysts, Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons boasted, "If I can be allowed one moment of immodesty, no one can run these businesses better than the current management is running them." Icahn, however, was unimpressed. In a speech in New York quoted in today's (Thursday) Los Angeles Times, Icahn remarked that the company "should be doing better. ... If you just broke it up, the stock would be higher. ... In Time Warner, we're saying the conglomerate concept does not work."