Time Warner Inc. has extend the contract of CEO Jeff Bewkes for three years. But the extension comes amid a New York Post report that an activist shareholder, institutionally run by a disciple of legendary corporate rabble rouser Carl Icahn, is pushing for a sale of the top media conglomerate.
According to the Post, New York-based Corvex Management is pondering a move to lead a boardroom push that would force Time Warner to either sell itself, or at least spin off its most profitable division, HBO.
Corvex is run by Keith Meister, who, until 2006, served as a top Icahn aid. Icahn led an unsuccessful 2006 bid to break up Time Warner, which also operates Turner Networks.
Corvex has not yet formally signaled these intentions to Time Warner's board.
Analysts have predicted activist shareholder intervention for the conglomerate ever since it rebuffed an $85-a-share acquisition offer from Rupert Murdoch and 21st Century Fox in July 2014. Time Warner's stock dropped about 24 percent in 2015.
Still, in awarding Bewkes his extension, the company's board cited the 162 percent return to shareholders that's been generated under his watch.
"Since becoming CEO, Jeff has transformed the company to focus on video content, capitalized on the combined strength of Turner, HBO, and Warner Bros., and delivered consistently strong operating and financial performance," the company said in a statement.
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