Dick Parsons Has a Good Day

Time Warner Stock Breaks $20 Mark

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LOS ANGELES (AdAge.com) -- Dick Parsons finally made a score: Time Warner stock edged above $20 on Oct. 26 for only the second time since he took over as chairman-CEO in May 2002.
CEO Dick Parsons watched as a surging stock market helped lift Time Warner's stock price, but nowhere near 1999 levels.
CEO Dick Parsons watched as a surging stock market helped lift Time Warner's stock price, but nowhere near 1999 levels. Credit: AP

Time Warner's peak price on Mr. Parson's watch came early -- $20.13 on May 17, 2002, just one day after he took the top spot at the world's largest media company. The stock skidded that summer to a low of $8.70 amid investigations of the company's accounting by the Securities and Exchange Commission and Justice Department.

Time Warner reached the high teens in 2004 and again in September 2005, when it hit $19 after investor Carl Icahn announced actions to enhance shareholder value. Mr. Icahn ended his offensive last February after Time Warner agreed to step up stock buybacks, cut costs and add independent directors. Shares slumped after that, bottoming at $15.70 in July.

Climbing back
But Time Warner climbed back with the surging stock market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average broke another record Oct. 26, closing at 12,164.

Time Warner hit $20.08 during morning trading, but it couldn't hold a twenty spot. The stock ended the day up 16 cents at $19.99, almost as if there's a sale price on Time Warner.

The stock does sell at a hefty discount, at least from the prices once paid by long-suffering shareholders. The Dow is at a record, but Time Warner is far from that. Shares peaked at $95.81 in December 1999, a month before the company, then known as America Online Inc., struck a deal to use its pricey stock to buy Time Warner. That created AOL Time Warner, one of the most ridiculed merger deals ever.

The company erased AOL from its name three years ago, but the stock remained stuck below $20 until yesterday.
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