Bewkes joins Time Warner board


NEW YORK -- Time Warner Inc. has added president and chief operating officer Jeffrey Bewkes and Motorola Inc. chairman and CEO Edward Zander to its board, expanding its size to 14 directors, the world's largest media conglomerate said Thursday.

TW chairman and CEO Richard Parsons has repeatedly signaled that Bewkes is in line to succeed him, and his addition to the board will increase his involvement in key proceedings.

A TW spokesman reiterated comments Thursday that Parsons will stay in his position at least through the end of his contract in May 2008.

TW also said Thursday that its Time Inc. unit has agreed to sell 18 magazine titles to Swedish publisher Bonnier Magazine Group. While financial details weren't disclosed, Wall Street observers estimated the price tag between $200 million-$300 million.

The sale covers Time Inc.'s Parenting Group and Time4 Media titles, including Parenting, Popular Science and Outdoor Life.

"This is a smart transaction that advances both the interests of our shareholders and Time Inc.'s future success," Parsons said. "This sale and our other recent divestitures are enabling us to concentrate our resources on developing our most strategic and promising opportunities to grow our businesses."

Discussing TW's latest board additions, Parsons said: "Jeff Bewkes has been a highly effective partner as we've worked together in turning Time Warner around and setting it firmly on a path of sustainable growth. As COO, Jeff's been a superb leader of our businesses, driving the AOL transition, encouraging superior performance across the company and working to realize our full potential, especially in the advancement of our digital capabilities."

Zander is a "smart, seasoned Fortune 100 CEO with nearly 30 years of experience in the communications and technology industries," Parsons said. In addition to adding an independent voice to TW's board, "Ed brings recognized expertise in mobile and broadband communications, which are among the key areas of growth and opportunity for our company," he added.

Said Bewkes: "I appreciate the confidence of Dick and the board, and I'm pleased to be able to contribute to Time Warner's success in this new role."

In other TW news Thursday, bondholders of Adelphia Communications appealed a judge's ruling from Wednesday that they must post a $1.3 billion bond before she reviews their challenge to Adelphia's bankruptcy reorganization plan, sources said.

If a review doesn't happen, the judge is expected to give the go-ahead for the bankruptcy plan. If it comes to the review, however, this could affect TW's planned spinoff of its TW Cable unit.

TW has been simultaneously pursuing two tracks for a spinoff of Time Warner Cable.

In the first scenario, if the Adelphia bankruptcy plan goes ahead, TWC could become publicly traded without a formal initial public offering simply by way of a distribution of stock to creditors. Sources have said this process would take about a couple of weeks from the final approval of the bankruptcy plan.

However, TW also has filed an IPO registration with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which would allow a spinoff in an IPO, including the related investor roadshow and the like. Observers have suggested this scenario could play out if the Adelphia bankruptcy plan gets held up for a while.