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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 February 2006, 00:56 GMT
Time Warner profit tops forecasts
AOL continued to lose subscribers in the past quarter
Media company Time Warner has reported a 20% rise in net profits, topping forecasts with growth in its film, television and online businesses.

Net profit was $1.4bn (789m) in the last three months of 2005, from $1.13bn a year earlier. Sales were $11.9bn.

The results may help chief executive Richard Parsons fight off a challenge to his control that has been launched by billionaire investor Carl Icahn.

Mr Icahn wants to break up the firm and boost its share price by selling units.

He has gained support from a group of investors that control about 3% of Time Warner.

No experiments

Mr Parsons said that Time Warner would "continue to consider many strategic alternatives and initiatives to achieve even higher and more sustainable increases in share value".

However, he added that the firm would "not experiment with the flavour of the day in the mere hope that it might work or simply because we are impatient".

Time Warner's shares closed 69 cents higher to close at $18.22 on Wednesday.

Sales at Time Warner's cable business rose by 13%, while revenues from films including the latest Harry Potter added 11% and profits increased by 42%.

Time Warner's internet business AOL fared worse, losing 8% of sales and shedding 625,000 subscribers to 19.5 million at the end of the quarter.

"I thought the results were pretty good," said Thomas Eagan, vice president of Oppenheimer research.

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