Time Warner profit drops, boosts outlook

Earns Time Warner
FILE - In this Nov. 7, 2007 file photo, people walk by the Time Warner building in New York. Media conglomerate Time Warner Inc. reported a 38 percent drop in third-quarter profit on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009, hurt by declines at its AOL and publishing segments.Diane Bondareff / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Media conglomerate Time Warner Inc. reported a 38 percent drop in third-quarter profit, hurt by declines at its AOL and publishing segments.

Even so, the results beat expectations and the company boosted its full-year earnings forecast. And Time Warner said it is still on track to spin off AOL.

The company confirmed that it will cut jobs at Time Inc., publisher of magazines such as Sports Illustrated and Fortune, though it would not offer details on the extent or timing of the cutbacks. Time Warner said it will take about $100 million in restructuring charges this quarter.

Time Warner, which also owns the Warner Bros. movie studio and the HBO and Turner cable networks, said Wednesday its profit fell to $661 million, or 55 cents per share, in the July-September quarter, down from $1.1 billion, or 89 cents per share, a year ago.

Excluding unusual items, earnings came to 61 cents a share. That tops the analysts' average forecast of 53 cents, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.

Last year's earnings included results from Time Warner's spun-off cable unit, Time Warner Cable Inc. Earnings from continuing operations fell a more modest 14 percent.

Revenue fell 6 percent to $7.1 billion, in line with analysts' estimates.

The company expects adjusted earnings of at least $2.05 per share for the year, up from its earlier forecast of $1.98. Analysts had been forecasting $2.02 a share.

The AOL unit saw a 23 percent drop in revenue in the latest quarter. AOL ended the quarter with 5.4 million dial-up subscribers, down 438,000 from the quarter before.

Revenue at Time Warner's publishing operations dropped 18 percent as advertising sales continued to suffer.

Time Warner's movie studio and cable channels, which rely less on ad dollars, fared better.