Shapiro is TW's man on Street


In the latest sign that Time Warner Inc. will take its story to Wall Street more aggressively once Jeffrey Bewkes takes the CEO reins on Jan. 2, the company has hired former analyst Douglas Shapiro as vp investor relations.

The move is also the latest sign that Bewkes will revamp the asset portfolio of TW via possible spinoffs, sales and other deals to boost shareholder value.

As a prominent media analyst at Banc of America Securities until earlier this year, Shapiro used to recommend TW shares partly on the basis that a breakup could be in the works.

A TW spokesman on Thursday confirmed that Shapiro recently started the IR job, reporting to James Burtson who has headed up the conglomerate's IR department.

Shapiro's hiring was first reported by the New York Times Thursday, which said that Burtson could take on a broader role in the future.

Among the various asset changes that Wall Street is expecting from TW is a spinoff of Time Warner Cable as early as the first half of 2008. AOL and Time Inc. are also units that many have been suggested could be sold, merged or spun off.

Bewkes has vowed to focus on boosting TW's stock price and making sure it is as profitable and creatively successful as possible. Last month, for example, he said TW must concentrate on being "the most profitable, not the biggest" entertainment company (HR 11/8).