NEW YORK (AP) — Financier Carl Icahn stepped up his campaign against Time Warner Inc. Tuesday, releasing the results of a study proposing that the media conglomerate be broken up into four companies.
The report, which Icahn commissioned from the boutique investment bank Lazard Ltd., also found that Time Warner's excessive focus on short-term considerations has cost shareholders a total of $40 billion.
"Time has not been friendly to Time Warner," Bruce Wasserstein, the head of Lazard, told a news conference in New York, adding that the need for changes there was "urgent."
Wasserstein found particular fault with the company's handling of AOL, saying it should have moved sooner into Internet-based telephone services; waited too long to offer a bundled service with corporate sibling Time Warner Cable; and didn't capitalize on the surge in Internet advertising.
"Since 2002, almost every strategic decision concerning AOL has been wrong," Wasserstein said. "Time Warner failed to nurture or invest in AOL."
Time Warner's deal in 2000 to be acquired by AOL led to enormous problems, including a plummeting share price, a management purge, failure to deliver on promises of corporate synergy and accounting improprieties at AOL. The combined company used to be called AOL Time Warner Inc.