Continued rumors about a sale of Time Warner or spinoff of HBO drove shares in the media giant up more than 2% Tuesday afternoon, though a couple of those reported to be eyeing deals denied involvement.
Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes reportedly held a series of closed-door meetings Monday with investors, telling them that he opposed either a spinoff or sale of HBO but implying that he might consider a sale of the whole company, the New York Post reported.
But several of those said to be involved denied it. Lachlan Murdoch told Variety that Fox was not in the mix. Despite rumors to the contrary, Carl Icahn told CNBC that he did not own a single share of Time Warner, adding, “it annoys me that certain speculators use my name to make profits at the expense of other shareholders.”
Bewkes, while not confirming any deals, told Variety at the Golden Globes Sunday night that “everybody wants to own us,” because Time Warner has such strong assets.
The report in the Post quoted an investor saying Bewkes said that “splitting up can destroy value,” — using the breakup of Viacom as an example. Sumner Redstone’s company has scene its shares struggle since the company was split a decade ago. But the New York paper’s account called Bewkes “coy” in the meetings with investors, allegedly telling them that he wanted to “increase shareholder value.”
Time Warner shares moved up to $71.48 a share, nearly $2 above their opening Tuesday.