Time Warner's profit goes 34 percent up in fourth quarter

Time Warner Inc.'s profit jumped 34 percent in the fourth quarter, boosted by the sale of Internet access businesses in Europe and a deal that added new subscribers to its cable TV unit.

The world's largest media company, which owns Warner Bros., Time Inc. and the second-largest cable TV operator in the country, reported it earned $1.75 billion (EUR 1.35 billion), or 44 cents per share, for the three months ending in December, up from $1.3 billion (EUR 1 billion), or 28 cents a share, in the same period a year ago.

Revenues rose 8 percent to $12.5 billion (EUR 9.64 billion) from $11.5 billion (EUR 8.87 billion).

The results included a gain of $769 million (EUR 592.8 million) from the sale of AOL's Internet access businesses in the U.K. and France as well as a restructuring charge at AOL of $179 million (EUR 137.9 million). AOL is in the midst of revamping its business model away from selling Internet access and towards selling advertising online.

Excluding those gains and other one-time effects, operating income before depreciation and amortization rose 13 percent to $3 billion (EUR 2.3 billion) from $2.7 billion (EUR 2.08 billion) in the same period a year ago on higher profits from cable TV systems and cable TV networks such as HBO and TBS.

The company also recorded an expense of $615 million (EUR 474.1 million) to securities litigation. Excluding various one-time items and discontinued operations in both periods, the company had profits of 22 cents per share in the most recent period, in line with the estimates of analysts polled by Thomson Financial, versus 23 cents per share in the year-ago period, the AP reports.

Time Warner's cable unit in July of last year acquired a number of cable subscribers from Adelphia Communications Corp. in a three-way deal with Comcast Corp., the top U.S. cable company. Following the deal, Time Warner had about 13.4 million cable subscribers.

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