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Acquisitions set the pace at Time Warner

Conglom eyeing possible magazine deals

NEW YORK — Time Warner continues to scout for acquisitions in all divisions even as the cable unit prepares to close on its purchase of Adelphia Communications, TW chief financial officer Wayne Pace said Monday.

“We did take a hard look at MGM. In our filmed entertainment business, we’re open-minded; same for television networks,” Pace told investors at the Deutsche Bank Media & Telecommunications Conference in Gotham. He said TW’s eyeing possible magazine deals in the U.S. and abroad.

He reiterated that the conglom has no immediate plans to spin off America Online but won’t rule out the idea in the long term if it would create value for shareholders.

Pace prepared Wall Street for soft second-quarter numbers, in part seasonal, in part due to tough comparisons in film and higher spending at Turner Broadcasting. “We run these businesses for the long-term, not quarter-to-quarter,” he said. “We are confident that longer-term prospects are similar to what you’ve seen in the past.”

Pace touted upcoming slate of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” from Warner Bros. and “Wedding Crashers” from New Line.

He predicted that TV DVD sales would top $1 billion this year.

And he noted that Warner will boast a hefty 32 series on primetime TV in the coming season — up from 30 — spread among the six broadcast nets. That many are returning shows indicates a swelling pipeline of syndication revenue, he added.

Pace said TW’s debt will stand at close to $14 billion, including the sale of its remaining stake in Google.

Conglom’s heaviest consistent spending is at AOL and Time Warner Cable, which is rapidly rolling out new services and features, including telephony. TWC is reporting double-digit growth in average revenue per subscriber, he added.

TWC anticipates spending $650 million over three years to integrate Adelphia systems with its own. Deal will add 3.5 million basic cable subscribers for a total of 14.4 million.

Adelphia announced separately on Monday that it will sell its cable operations in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for $520 million to investors MidOcean Partners and Crestview Partners.

Adelphia owns the systems jointly with ML Media Partners.

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