Interventionist shareholder Carl Icahn has enlisted investment bank Lazard and its deal-making chairman Bruce Wasserstein in his war of attrition against media giant Time Warner.

Icahn and his hedge fund partners, who have a 2.6% stake in the company, have hired the bank to conduct an in-depth analysis of TW's business and identify potential strategic alternatives.

The billionaire financier has been gunning for the company since the summer, pushing for a $20 billion (€16.97bn; £11.62bn) share buy-back and a spin-off of cable assets in a bid to lift sagging stock market values [WAMN: 11-Aug-05].

The hiring of Wasserstein will lend weight to Icahn's campaign and, he hopes, will create more support for his cause among other TW investors.

The media titan's chairman Richard Parsons has insisted the company will follow its own strategy to boost the share price, but he has increased an original $5bn buy-back plan to $12.5bn since Icahn started applying pressure.

This latest tactic could also seek to replace a majority of the 12-strong TW board at next year's annual shareholder meeting.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online and New York Times; additional content by WARC staff