Sting - Bewkes To Shake Up Time Warner
( CM ) - In his first major conference with analysts since taking over as CEO of Time Warner in December, Jeffrey Bewkes indicated Wednesday that he is considering splitting off Time Warner Cable to shareholders, carving AOL into two parts -- and selling off one of the parts, and shutting down New Line Cinema. He said that he plans to separate "AOL's access and audiences business," presumably meaning that under his plan the AOL portal would become one entity and the units that develop content for it would become another. (The Wall Street Journal said that the plan represented "the first steps to reversing the largest merger in Internet history.) As for New Line, Bewkes said, "There's an obvious question about whether it still makes sense for us to have two completely separate studio infrastructures." (Time Warner inherited New Line at the time of its merger with Turner Broadcasting.) Bewkes's words were taken as the clearest indication yet that he now intends to merge New Line with the larger Warner Bros. operation. On Wednesday, L.A. Weekly columnist Nikki Finke, who first reported on the New Line move last month, said on her blog that the studio's co-chiefs, Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne, had recently proposed to Bewkes that they institute major cost-cutting moves at the studio in exchange for contract renewals. "But Bewkes isn't interested in that scenario," Finke wrote, without citing sources.