Street Talk

cityfile · 07/16/08 05:00AM
  • Did Goldman Sachs have a hand in the downfall of Bear Stearns? London-based traders at the firm are now under investigation for spreading negative rumors [WSJ]

Sun Valley Welcomes You!

cityfile · 07/08/08 06:23AM

It won't be quite as cheery as usual at Herb Allen's annual media mogul retreat, which kicks off today in Sun Valley. This time last year, the credit crisis was but a blip on the radar. Oh, how things have changed over the past twelve months. Without the billions on hand to close big deals, the economic downturn has made life pretty depressing for the master-of-the-universe set. But gather they will— the tennis and hiking must go on, damnit—and aside from the handful of players who were dropped from the invite list on account of their declining influence, all the media big shots are expected. Among those who will be cruising in on their company-owned jets: Rupert Murdoch (along with son Lachlan), Warren Buffett, Viacom chief Philippe Dauman, Les Moonves, Howard Stringer, Edgar Bronfman Jr., Jeff Bewkes and Dick Parsons of Time Warner, NBC's Jeff Zucker, Universal's Ron Meyer, Paramount chief Brad Grey, and Disney's Bob Iger.

Yang eyes AOL to save his job

Nicholas Carlson · 07/07/08 10:00AM

Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang spent the holiday weekend with his company's Goldman Sachs advisers, devising a plan to present shareholders during the company's annual meeting on August 1. The goal: Craft an alternative to a company breakup or buyout at the hands of Microsoft, which would likely come at the cost of the entire Yahoo board's jobs, including Yang's. To escape such a fate, Yang and his bankers zeroed in on Time Warner, hoping to acquire its online property AOL in exchange for $10 billion worth of Yahoo stock. It's an old plan, brought up again last week after first surfacing in April.

Microsoft looking for a third to get in on the Yahoo action

Nicholas Carlson · 07/02/08 08:09AM

Microsoft's latest plan: acquire Yahoo's search business and convince either Time Warner or News Corp to snatch up the rest. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Yahoo board chairman Roy Bostock had a meeting scheduled Monday to discuss the plans, but Ballmer called it off at the last minute, reports the Wall Street Journal. Yahoo sources took the cancellation to mean Ballmer couldn't persuade News Corp's chairman Rupert Murdoch or Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes to do the deal. They're probably right about Bewkes. Word has it he's hoping Yahoo will buy Time Warner's AOL, not the other way around. As for Murdoch, he's been willing to hand over MySpace for Yahoo stock since at least last year, but perhaps like us, he's wondering why anyone would make a move for Yahoo shares right now, when they don't seem to be going anywhere but down. (Photo by xamad)

Bewkes to shareholder: Just pretend Bebo is MySpace

Nicholas Carlson · 06/10/08 11:40AM

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes's oops-did-I-Bebo-that tour continues. Yesterday at the Deutsche Bank Media & Telecom conference, a shareholder asked Bewkes how $850 million for a third-place social network jibed with Bewkes's claim that disciplined capital allocation is a key priority for Time Warner. According to PaidContent, Bewkes said, “We did make a bit of a stretch." He then tried to reassure the worried shareholder saying, it was the “same thing when News Corp. bought MySpace.”

Yahoo's Scott Moore catches Time Warner CEO fudging numbers

Owen Thomas · 05/28/08 07:40PM

CARLSBAD, CA — How rarely can one give one's enemies an in-your-face comeuppance? For Yahoo's Scott Moore, the chance came during Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes's interview at D6. Bewkes claimed that AOL was No. 1 in news, finance, and a host of other categories. "Where are you getting your numbers?" asked Moore during the session's open-mic portion, pointing out that AOL led Yahoo in all the areas Bewkes mentioned. Bewkes offered a feeble parry, suggesting that the numbers were close. Not even, Moore replied, rattling off how many millions of users the Yahoo sites he leads beat AOL. A satisfying moment, but shouldn't Moore be keeping his career options open at a time like this? (Photo by Asa Mathat/

Microsoft, AOL talking? Our spy photo says yes

Owen Thomas · 05/28/08 04:20PM

CARLSBAD, CA — Here's Microsoft dealmaker Hank Vigil chatting up AOL COO Ron Grant over lunch at the D6 conference. Why is that interesting? Because we overheard Vigil gabbing away on his cell phone earlier today about the "economic terms" of some deal. Microsoft famously made a run at merging its online businesses with Time Warner's AOL a few years ago. As with its recent talks with Yahoo, Microsoft only succeeded at driving its target into Google's arms; Google has a search deal with AOL, and owns 5 percent of the company. Could AOL be an option once more for Microsoft? Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes is set to take the stage soon. While he's not likely to say anything about talks, it's a safe bet Vigil and Grant will be seeing more of each other.

Now that Time Warner has another $9.25 billion to play with, will Yahoo talks heat up?

Nicholas Carlson · 05/21/08 01:40PM

Time Warner Cable will pay shareholders a $10.9 billion dividend as part of its spinoff from Time Warner, which will get $9.25 billion as its portion. With that cash in the bank, will Time Warner-Yahoo negotiations heat up? Last we heard, Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang and Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes were negotiating a deal that would merge AOL and Yahoo and give Time Warner 20 percent control over the new company. According to Bewkes, the new cash could result in "disciplined acquisitions." Bewkes also acknowledged that AOL-Yahoo "discussions are going on." But here's the thing: as much as Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang might prefer merging with AOL rather than selling out as a whole or in splinters to Microsoft, it's not really up to him anymore, is it?

Guilt, Blame and Other Wreckage From the Picturehouse/WIP Crash

STV · 05/09/08 12:05PM

The eulogies are on following Thursday's twin killing of Picturehouse and Warner Independent Pictures by the executioners at Warner Bros. — or perhaps more accurately, by hooded, high-ranking Time Warner axeman Jeff Bewkes, to whom some today are attributing the death penalty that ended in nearly 75 lost jobs between the two mini-majors. While we still suspect that WIP's demise in cosmically linked to its acquisition of the poisonously atrocious Alan Ball film Towelhead (another blogger disagrees, citing Funny Games instead), at least a few other observers have more official diagnoses from the murder scene.

Why Don't We Feel Better About All These New Movies on ITunes?

STV · 05/01/08 02:30PM

The inevitable grouping of the major studios under the iTunes roof finally occurred today, when Apple officially announced it had reached agreements with Universal, Paramount, Fox, Warner Bros., Sony and Lionsgate (along with previous bedfellow Disney) on day-and-date downloads of their new DVD titles. The studios had made most releases available for rental since earlier this year (with catalog titles for sale before that), but this marks the first time users can buy and download new releases on their DVD street dates.

Googlebaiting? Time Warner to drop AOL's dialup business

Nicholas Carlson · 02/06/08 01:20PM

In an anticipated move, new Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said the company will further separate AOL from its declining ISP business. Bewkes said the move would "increase AOL's strategic options," which the WSJ took as a hint that he would consider selling pieces of AOL. Speculation names Google an interested buyer. Common sense does not.

Nicholas Carlson · 02/06/08 11:48AM

New Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes just held his first earnings call since taking over the top spot back in January. And to celebrate? Layoffs! Time Warner, the parent of AOL, Time Inc., HBO, and Warner Bros., among others, will cut 75 today from its corporate offices — about 20 percent of the headquarters staff. Still, 75 is plenty enough for chuckles. [AdAge]

Jeff Bewkes

cityfile · 01/25/08 11:29PM

Bewkes is the CEO, President, and Chairman of the Board of Time Warner.

Time Warner's New CEO Won't Be Shaking Your Hand

Sheila · 01/14/08 05:56PM

Jeff Bewkes ("pronounced byu-kiss"), Time Warner's new CEO, is nuts: ''A former colleague describes Bewkes, 55, as a quasi hypochondriac who fastidiously washes up after shaking hands ('If you've got a cold,' says the colleague, 'Jeff won't come anywhere near you') and can expound learnedly on the relative merits of various antibiotics.'' Who else is weird like this? Howard Hughes was an obsessive-compulsive, and Donald Trump famously won't shake hands either. Haven't they heard? It's the money that's dirty! [NY Mag]

AOL, meet the new boss

Owen Thomas · 11/05/07 03:43PM

Come January, Jeff Bewkes will be Time Warner's new CEO, displacing Dick Parsons. The change was widely expected since Bewkes's appointment as chief operating officer in 2005. That's also when AOL, for the first time, fell under Bewkes's command. AOL CEO Randy Falco was widely seen as a Bewkes hire, and Bewkes's hand was also seen in the purchase of Tacoda, an ad-targeting firm headed by Curt Viebranz, who formerly worked for Bewkes at HBO. The most intriguing rumor I've heard: When things settle down at AOL, Falco could be headed upstairs to fill Bewkes's recently vacated COO spot — and Viebranz would then become AOL's next CEO.

abalk · 06/08/07 11:30AM

He'll hand over the reins to Jeff Bewkes sometime in 2008, which should leave plenty of time for, oh, say, running for mayor. [MediaPost]