Time Warner (TWX) Finds Sure-Fire Way To Get Stock Price Up

Time Warner is asking its shareholders to vote for a reverse stock split, in a bid to boost its languishing market price and improve the shares’ liquidity, according to a regulatory filing on Monday.

The media company, which owns cable news network CNN and movie studio Warner Bros among its media properties, is proposing the split after it separates from its Time Warner Cable Inc unit early in 2009.

A special meeting of stockholders will be held on Jan. 16 at its New York headquarters. It said in a proxy filing that stockholders will be asked to vote on a reverse stock split in a ratio of either 1-for-2 or 1-for-3, as determined by the board.

Time Warner owns 84 per cent of Time Warner Cable and its shareholders will receive a special one-time dividend of $10.9 billion when it separates from the cable unit.

The media company said its board believes that following the separation, the market price and trading ranges for Time Warner stock may be significantly lower than the current market price due to the fact that Time Warner will have distributed all of its Time Warner Cable shares to Time Warner shareholders.

The board said it believes that increasing Time Warner’s absolute share price will make it a more liquid and marketable stock. It said some institutional investors and investment funds are prohibited from investing in lower-priced stocks.

Another benefit: The new stock price will be less embarrassing.

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