Levin, Case reap $223.6 options windfall

AOL Time Warner execs Gerald Levin and Steve Case pulled down $223.6 million between them by exercising stock options last year according to a proxy statement filed Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Reuters reports.

Levin, 61, exercised $152.6 million in options under his old Time Warner contract and also received salary and bonuses totaling $11 million in 2000 plus additional stock options worth a potential $14 million. His salary of $1 million was the same as in 1999, but his bonuses rose $1 million last year to $10 million. Options Levin exercised were granted prior to America Online's $124 billion acquisition of Time Warner in January.

AOL Time Warner chairman Steve Case exercised $71.2 million in AOL stock options prior to the merger's completion, according to the regulatory filing. Case, 42, received salary and bonuses of almost $1.8 million in calendar 2000, spanning two fiscal years of the former AOL. But he distributed more than $400,000 in his own bonuses to other employees.

For both Levin and Case, the value of the options exercised was calculated on the basis of the stock price on days shares were exercised.

In a separate regulatory filing, AOL Time Warner said it may take a "significant" non-cash charge in the first quarter to write down some investments. The media giant claimed its investments in various publicly traded companies had declined a total of $300 million as of March 21.