Interventionist shareholder Carl Icahn, currently plotting to oust Time Warner's top management in favour of his own placeman, former Viacom ceo Frank Biondi [WAMN: 31-Jan-06], has reportedly enlisted the support of Capital Research and Management, the media giant's largest shareholder.
The Times of London reports that, according to moles in Fort Icahn, CR&M is "dissatisfied" with its present investment returns from Time Warner and favors some Gung-Ho action. Although CR&M has substantially reduced its holding in TW in recent months, it remains the group's largest shareholder with a stake of over five percent.
In addition to his own 3% stake, Icahn can marshal the voting support of other dissident shareholders, who between them own around 3.5%. If CR&M joins the party, the alliance will command over 11.5% of TW's voting rights,
Significant though that is, however, it's a country mile short of the fifty percent needed to win the day in the event of a shareholder poll.
Antipathetic investors will meet in New York this afternoon (Tuesday) to hear the proposed plan of attack - a strategy that includes the break-up of TW, including the merger of its America Online unit with a smaller [unnamed] internet portal.
Chairing Tuesday's meeting will be Bruce Wasserstein, chairman/ceo of Lazard, the financial advisory and asset management firm hired to advise Icahn in his proxy fight against Time Warner management.
Lazard has been working in the Icahn armory since last November but has so far remained zip-lipped about its TW attack plans.
Data sourced from The Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff