* Company hit by lacklustre ad spending in CEE
* In talks with Time Warner on increasing stake
* Raises ad prices, fees to improve performance
PRAGUE, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Central European Media Enterprises said it is looking to raise cash by selling assets, raising fees and holding talks with its largest shareholder, Time Warner Inc, over increasing its stake in the broadcaster.
U.S. media company Time Warner, the owner of the HBO cable network and the Warner Bros. film studio, currently holds a 49.9 percent share in CME, which operates TV stations in central Europe, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Slovenia.
The Czech broadcaster has seen sales fall in past quarter as the global economic downturn curbed companies’ willingness to spend on advertising.
CME said it was mulling new equity financing, asset sales and renegotiating fees with a number of major suppliers among ways to raise cash.
The company reported a 20.7 percent drop in fourth quarter underlying profit (OIBDA) to $60.7 million, below the average estimate of $66.6 million in a Reuters poll.
Full year OIBDA fell by 16.2 percent to $ 125.4 million, below the company’s guidance for $ 130-140 million.
“Challenging times require bold actions: increasing advertising prices and carriage fees,” Chief Executive Adrian Sarbu said in a note.