Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) Chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes opened the company’s annual meeting by highlighting two recent spinoff plans, that of Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) and this morning’s announcement that AOL would be separated out as an independent company. By casting off these two businesses, Bewkes said that Time Warner will be able to commit more resources to creating and distributing content. “This separation will give AOL more flexibility. And having it’s own stock, will allow them to retain and attract the best talent.”
He then went on to review other business, such as explaining how folding New Line Cinema into Warner Bros., which allowed the company to reduce the former studio’s costs by 90 percent.
Bewkes maintained his composure during several interruptions from shareholder meeting gadly Evelyn Y. Davis. After complaining that she was against the 2001 purchase of AOL, she then went on to connect Time Warner director Herb Allison — he was tapped to head Fannie Mae and serve as an adviser to the TARP program last fall — Davis received applause after denouncing AOL as a “toxic asset.” Bewkes vigorously defended against that characterization, saying that AOL is profitable and made $1 billion last year.