Time Warner's Profit Up 22%

CNN and Sports Illustrated parent Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) weighed in Wednesday with a 22% rise in fourth-quarter profits, and also hiked its dividend and issued bullish guidance.The New York-based media heavyweight also boosted its stock buyback plan by $4 billion.Time Warner said it earned $769 million, or 68 cents a share, last quarter, compared with a profit of $631 million, or 53 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, it earned 67 cents a share, exceeding calls for 62 cents a share.Revenue rose 8.4% to $7.81 billion, trumping the Street’s view of $7.47 billion.“Time Warner had an outstanding year in 2010,” CEO Jeff Bewkes said in a statement. “We made substantial progress in boosting the competitive position and long-term growth profiles of our businesses.”Looking ahead, Time Warner forecasted 2011 non-GAAP EPS would rise in the low teens from 2010’s $2.41. Analysts had been calling for EPS to rise 9.1% to $2.63.“In 2011, we’re even more confident about how we’re positioned, and we'll be even more aggressive,” Bewkes said. “We’ll increase our investments in programming, production and marketing even more than we did last year.”Time Warner also raised its quarterly dividend to 23.5 cents, up from 21.25 cents previously.In a sign of management’s confidence, Time Warner said it is raising its stock repurchase authorization to $5 billion, up from just $1 billion that was remaining as of the end of 2010.Time Warner said its networks revenue rose 14% last quarter to $3.3 billion amid a 9% rise in subscription revenue.Warner Bros., the company’s filmed entertainment division, posted a 10% increase in revenue to $3.6 billion. Time Inc., which houses Time Magazine and SI, saw revenue rise just 2% to $3.6 billion, hurt by a 2% slide in subscription revenue.Encouraged by the earnings beat, outlook and stock buyback plans, shareholders boosted Time Warner’s stock 2.94% to $33.26 early Wednesday.