* Time Warner has "appetite" for movies, TV
* Unlikely to acquire a broadcast TV network
* Wants to fix CNN prime-time ratings
* Shares closed up 4.8 pct at $30.94
By Jennifer Saba
NEW YORK, May 27 Time Warner Inc (TWX.N) Chief
Executive Jeff Bewkes said he has "plenty of appetite" to invest
in the TV and movie business, following his recent headline-making
deal to land late-night star Conan O'Brien.
Bewkes and other top executives, in an all-day session with
investors on Thursday, emphasized "targeted" acquisition
possibilities to help bolster existing businesses, after the
company spun out AOL AOL.N and Time Warner Cable TWC.N.
Time Warner is unlikely to pursue a splashier deal for a
broadcast TV network, like Walt Disney Co's (DIS.N) ABC or CBS
Corp's (CBS.N) CBS, Bewkes said.
"We wouldn't rule out anything as things come up in the
world," he said. "I think the likely answer is probably not."
While Time Warner is much more streamlined these days,
investors still asked executives if they planned to sell more
assets including Time Inc. The publisher of Time, People and
Sports Illustrated magazines took a hit in 2009 as advertising
Bewkes put to rest for now the possibility of a sale, saying
Time Warner plans to keep Time Inc because it is in the
"attractive lead position" in the content business.
The Washington Post Co WPO.N put its Newsweek magazine up
for sale, citing several years of losses. [ID:nN05244922]
Time Warner has been on the defense about the prime-time
ratings slide of CNN. Phil Kent, chairman and CEO of Turner
Broadcasting, said they want to turn around that decline but he
did not elaborate. Kent added that "ratings are only one part of
Media reports have surfaced again that CNN and CBS are in
talks for a potential partnership to produce news.
During a CBS shareholder meeting on Wednesday, Chief Executive
Les Moonves said that while the companies have a good relationship
there is nothing happening right now in terms of a larger deal.
This is Time Warner's first investor day since the spin-offs
of AOL and Time Warner Cable. In December 2009, AOL split off from
Time Warner, putting an end to nine tumultuous years of one of the
most disastrous corporate mergers in history. Time Warner Cable
was separated in early 2009.
Time Warner has since been making moves in acquiring talent,
including wooing Conan O'Brien to TBS. In addition, Turner
Broadcasting signed a joint $10.8 billion deal with CBS for the
media rights of the NCAA's men's Division I college basketball
tournament in April.
(Reporting by Jennifer Saba; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)