Time Warner announced it will record some $25 billion in write-downs for the fourth quarter, with nearly $15 billion of it coming from Time Warner Cable. Time Warner, which owns 85% of the cable company but has been planning to spin off the stake to shareholders, said beyond the cable business, the write-downs will involve the falling value of its publishing and America Online units. The Time Warner Cable write-down reflects its cable franchising rights.
It had been expected that Time Warner might have to admit it also paid too much for acquisitions other than its disastrous merger with AOL, as it still carried over $42.5 billion in goodwill on the books last year.
The latest write-downs come after Time Warner recorded nearly $100 billion in goodwill write-downs in 2002 as the tech bubble that fuelled AOL’s purchase of Time Warner deflated.