Time Warner Inc. is the world's largest media and entertainment conglomerate, headquartered in New York City. Formerly three separate companies: Warner Communications, Inc. and Time Inc. before the Time-Warner merger in 1990 and America Online, Inc. before its purchase of Time Warner in 2001 has created the current Time Warner , with major operations in film, television, publishing, Internet service and telecommunications. Among its subsidiaries are AOL, New Line Cinema, Time Inc., Time Warner Cable, HBO, Turner Broadcasting System, The CW Television Network, UBU Productions, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Cartoon Network, CNN, and DC Comics.
It was the parent company for Warner Bros. Pictures and Warner Music Group during the 1970s and 1980s. It also owned DC Comics and Mad, as well as a majority stake in Garden State National Bank (an investment it was ultimately required to sell pursuant to requirements under the Bank Holding Company Act). Warner's initial divestiture efforts led by Garden State CEO Charles A. Agemian were blocked by Garden State board member William A. Conway in 1978; a revised transaction was later completed in 1980.
Warner made considerable profits (and later losses) with Atari, which it owned from 1976 to 1984. In 1976, Nolan Bushnell sold his Atari company to Warner Communications for an estimated $28–32 million. While part of Warner, Atari achieved its greatest success, selling millions of Atari 2600s and computers. At its peak, Atari accounted for a third of Warner's annual income and was the fastest-growing company in the history of the United States at the time.
In 1975, Warner expanded under the guidance of CEO Steve Ross and formed a joint venture with American Express, named Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment, which held cable channels including MTV (launched 1981), Nickelodeon (launched 1979) and The Movie Channel. Warner bought out American Express's half in 1984, and sold the venture a year later to Viacom, which renamed it MTV Networks.
In February 1983, Warner expanded their interests to baseball. Under the direction of Ceasar P. Kimmel, executive vice president, bought 48 percent of the Pittsburgh Pirates for $10 million. The company then put up its share for sale in November 1984 following losses of $6 million. The team's elderly majority owner, John W. Galbreath, soon followed suit after learning of Warner's actions.
In 1984, due to the video game crash of 1983, Warner sold the consumer division of Atari to Jack Tramiel. It kept the arcade division and renamed it Atari Games. They sold Atari Games to Namco in 1985, and repurchased it in 1994, renaming it Time-Warner Interactive, until it was sold to Midway Games in 1996. Meanwhile, in 1987, it was announced that Warner Communications and Time Inc. were to merge. The last thing Warner did before the merger closed in 1989 was to buy out Lorimar-Telepictures.
In 2000, a new company called AOL Time Warner, with Steve Case as chairman, was created when AOL purchased Time Warner for US$164bn. The deal, announced on 10 January 2000 and officially filed on 11 February 2000, employed a merger structure in which each original company merged into a newly created entity. The Federal Trade Commission cleared the deal on December 14, 2000, and gave final approval on January 11, 2001; the company completed the merger later that day. The deal was approved on the same day by the Federal Communications Commission, and had already been cleared the European Commission on 11 October 2000. The shareholders of AOL owned 55% of the new company while Time Warner shareholders owned only 45%, meaning that the smaller AOL had in fact bought out the far larger Time Warner.
After the merger, the profitability of the ISP division (America Online) decreased. Meanwhile, the market valuation of similar independent internet companies drastically fell. As a result, the value of the America Online division dropped significantly. This forced a goodwill write-off, causing AOL Time Warner to report a loss of $99 billion in 2002 — at the time, the largest loss ever reported by a company. In 2003, the company dropped the "AOL" from its name, and removed Steve Case as executive chairman in favor of Richard Parsons, with AOL remaining a part of the company. That same year, Time Warner spun off Time-Life's ownership under the legal name Direct Holdings Americas, Inc. Case resigned from the Time Warner board on October 31, 2005.
In 2005, Time Warner was among 53 entities that contributed the maximum of $250,000 to the second inauguration of President George W. Bush. On December 27, 2007 newly installed Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes discussed possible plans to spin-off Time Warner Cable and sell-off AOL and Time Inc. This would leave a smaller company made up of Turner Broadcasting, Warner Bros and HBO. On February 28, 2008 co-chairmen and co-CEOs of New Line Cinema Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne announced their resignations from the 40-year-old movie studio in response to Jeffrey Bewkes's demand for cost-cutting measures at the studio, which he intended to dissolve into Warner Bros.
The network is the result of a merger of The WB Television Network (a Time Warner holding) and UPN (a CBS Corporation holding). CBS Corporation and Time Warner each own 50% of the network. Tribune Broadcasting (previously owned a 25% stake on The WB) and CBS Corporation contributed its stations as new network affiliates.
For fiscal year 2002 the company reported a $99 billion loss on its income statement because of $100 billion in non-recurring charges, almost all from a writedown of the goodwill (intangible asset) from the merger in 2000. The value of the AOL portion of the company had dropped sharply with the collapse of the Internet boom, in the early 2000s.
AOL's subscriber base is declining, and declines are expected to continue, adversely affecting subscription and advertising revenue. As more individuals are using non-PC devices to access the Internet, AOL is under pressure to secure placement of its services and applications on mobile devices.
Box office receipts and the growth rate of DVD sales have recently been declining, which adversely affects Warner Brothers' growth prospects and revenues.