Saudi Investor Backs Murdoch and Parsons

08 September 2005

Two global media magnates have received a royal seal of approval from one of the world's richest men.

Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, owner of around 1% of US-headquartered giant Time Warner, has declared his support for the company's ceo Richard Parsons, who is facing heat from interventionist stockholder Carl Icahn.

Icahn has built up a 2.6% stake in TW and is urging the company to pursue a $20-billion (€16.02bn; £10.85bn) share buyback and to spin-off the company's cable TV unit, in a bid the lift the stagnant stock price.

But, says Alwaleed: "We have full trust and confidence in Mr Parsons." Those soothing words may help the TW ceo counter the billionaire investor, and the Prince adds that he will "defer to Mr Parsons to decide" on appropriate actions.

The TW board is currently pursuing a $5bn buyback and 15% spin-off course, from which Parson insists it will not stray.

The Prince has also backed Rupert Murdoch's actions in his tussle with US cable TV pioneer John Malone over control of the News Corporation empire.

Alwaleed has acquired a 5.46% tranche of voting shares in News Corp to support the Murdoch clan, which owns close to 30% of voting stock. Malone's Liberty Media International group has built its holding to around 18%.

The prince said he would "aggressively defend" Murdoch's control of NewsCorp.

The company's chairman and ceo initiated a controversial 'poison pill' defense against Malone's feared predations as talks between the two have so far failed to bring any comfort [WAMN: 24-Aug-05].

Data sourced from and; additional content by WARC staff