Time Warner Raises Forecast, Sets $5B Buyback

Industries Reuters

Time Warner, the owner of cable channels CNN and HBO and movie studio Warner Bros, raised its 2016 adjusted profit forecast above analysts' expectations and set a $5 billion share buyback program.

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The company's shares were up 1.3 percent in premarket trading on Wednesday.

Time Warner said it expected adjusted earnings of between $5.30 per share and $5.40 per share for 2016. Analysts on average were expecting $5.26 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Time Warner had cut its adjusted profit forecast to $5.25 per share from "close to $6" in November, citing a strong dollar.

Time Warner reported a 6 percent fall in total revenue to $7.08 billion in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, hurt by a lack of hit movie releases from Warner Bros.

Revenue at Warner Bros fell 13 percent to $3.3 billion. In the year-earlier quarter, the studio released hit movies such as "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies", "Interstellar" and "Annabelle".

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The $5 billion share buyback was effective Jan. 1 and includes the amount remaining under a prior authorization, the company said.

Net income attributable to Time Warner shareholders rose to $857 million, or $1.06 per share, from $718 million, or 84 cents per share.

Excluding items, the company earned $1.06 per share.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of $1.01 per share and revenue of $7.53 billion.

(Reporting by Abhirup Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Don Sebastian)