Time Warner's Parsons Responds To Carl Icahn
After weeks of avoiding a public confrontation with corporate raider Carl Icahn, Time Warner Chairman Dick Parsons on Tuesday responded indignantly to Icahn's charges that the Time Warner board and Parsons in particular had failed to be aggressive enough in lifting the company's depressed stock price. Meeting reporters in advance of a Town Hall address in Los Angeles, Parsons said: "Carl and I agree that the stock is undervalued." However, he continued, "I don't think he has any great ideas, and I'm not even sure he thinks he does" for boosting the stock price. Later, in his address to the group, Parsons said that he has no intention of following Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone's lead in splitting up the company in the hopes that investors would regard the individual parts more highly than the whole. He predicted that Redstone and others "who tried to disaggregate [will] be nimble and efficient re-aggregating." On the other hand, Parsons appeared to side with Disney chief Robert Iger on the issue of closing the window between the time a film is released in theaters and the time it is released on DVD. "Windows are inevitably going to collapse over time," Parsons told reporters. "But managing that transition in a way that is respectful of our distribution partners is the challenge." Meanwhile Robert Clark, the former dean of Harvard Law School, said Tuesday that he has resigned as a director of Lazard, the company that Icahn has hired to advise him in his battle with Time Warner. Clark is also a member of the Time Warner board and his presence on both boards had posed a conflict of interest.