Turner: TW chief deemed Google a 'bulls--t' biz

Calls former colleagues 'dumb' for selling stake too soon

BEVERLY HILLS -- Ted Turner called his former Time Warner colleagues "dumb" on Monday for selling the company's stake in Google too soon and for not selling CNNfn to Rupert Murdoch and News Corp.

The Mouth of the South, as he is sometimes called, was speaking at the Milken Institute Global Conference on the topic of renewable energy -- which he has embraced as an environmental activist -- though he veered into media history every so often.

"This is what I said at the Time Warner board room. I'm not on the board anymore because they didn't get it," he said while making the point that energy policy needs improvement. "We have to stop doing the dumb things and start doing the smart things.

"We had 5% of Google in a music merger and I said to Dick Parsons, 'Dick, I think we ought to hang onto that Google stock.' That was 10 years ago. He said that company is a bunch of bullshit."

As he shook his head with his hand over his eyes, drawing laughter from the crowd, he continued his rant against Time Warner management back then. (Click here for the full video of the Milken panel. Turner's Time Warner rant starts at the 26:05 timestamp.)

"Then, listen to this one," he said as the crowd chuckled. "We had CNNfn, which was in 50 million homes, as Fox is in now. And they made the decision to close it down. It was breaking even. We should have been in there competing with CNBC and Bloomberg."

"They closed it down without even calling Rupert up, who said publicly he was looking really hard at getting into the financial news business," he said. "We could have gotten $100 million or $200 million from him just for the name and the 50 million subscribers. They didn't even call him -- they closed it down without even doing that, and he was sitting there with the money wanting to give it to em. How dumb can you be?"

Turner was on a panel with T. Boone Pickens and Michael Milken, where he also likened renewable energy to the changing TV industry.

"It's just as big a win as cable TV was going to be," he said of wind and solar energy. "People don't want three channels, they wanted a hundred. I don't know what the hell they do with them, but you like to have choice."
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