AT&T to Register TWE Stake
AT&T Corp. has asked AOL Time Warner Inc. to take steps to allow it to
register its shares in the Time Warner Entertainment partnership for sale to the
In a press release issued Wednesday night, AT&T said it has formally
requested that its 25.5 percent stake in TWE -- which includes Home Box Office,
Warner Bros. Studios and interests in Time Warner Cable systems -- be registered
AT&T has been trying to sell its stake in TWE back to AOL Time Warner for
months, in part to raise money to pay down debt and to satisfy regulatory
But according to published reports, the two companies have reached an impasse
in the negotiations over the value of the stake and over several side deals AOL
Time Warner wants as part of the transaction.
AOL Time Warner has reportedly offered $9 billion to $10 billion for
AT&T's share of the partnership, but it insists on greater access for its
Internet service on AT&T's cable systems in return.
While most observers doubt that the TWE stake will be offered to the public,
registering the shares forces both companies to hire an investment banker to
value AT&T's interest. AT&T believes it can force AOL Time Warner to pay
the appraised value, although AOL Time Warner has disputed that right.
AT&T said in a prepared statement that it continues to negotiate with AOL
Time Warner, and that both companies have agreed to postpone any action on the
request until March 15.
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