In a note from Pali Research yesterday, analyst Richard Greenfield said he doesn't like every Icahn proposal, but Time Warner had better do something. “Condensing Carl Icahn’s proposal into a single question, he is essentially asking investors, ‘Do you want things to stay the same or change?’” Mr. Greenfield wrote. “If boiled down to that level of simplicity, we favor change (and we think investors will too).”
But the note, provocatively titled “We Would Vote For Icahn Unless TWX Moves Aggressively,” also argues that the Lazard Report -- unveiled with great pomp on Feb. 7 -- could have been better. “While Lazard’s tome on Time Warner provided an interesting history lesson on the company and its perceived missteps, its unnecessarily aggressive valuation, gratuitous personal attacks and questionable strategic assumptions… mitigated its effectiveness,” Mr. Greenfield wrote.
Pali Research is the new research arm created last month by Pali Capital, which does not have any investment banking relationships with TW.
Like “The Power Broker,” Robert A. Caro’s comprehensive and incredibly lengthy history of Robert Moses, the Lazard Report is destined to go unfinished by many readers. But as more investors slog through it -- or just savor swipes like the context-free quotation of CEO Richard Parsons saying “I’m desperately in need of a strategy” -- more opinions will harden.
No one knows whether Mr. Icahn’s takeover will fizzle or become the greatest media-business raid of all time. But it still makes great theater.
Board elections take place this May.