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Time Warner Posts $16B Loss for 2008

Time Warner reported its financial results for its full year and fourth quarter (ending Dec. 31, 2008) on Wednesday, with an operating loss on the year of $16 billion. That figure reflected a decline of $24.9 billion compared to 2007's operating income of $8.9 billion, due mainly to a $24.2 billion noncash impairment to reduce the carrying value of goodwill and intangible assets.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bewkes said: "We're making progress at Time Warner toward our goals of becoming a more content-focused company and delivering increasing returns to our stockholders. Last year, our priorities were to rationalize our structure and improve our operating performance. Despite the challenging economic environment, we achieved most of what we set out to do. Moving into 2009, we intend to build on these accomplishments."

Bewkes continued in the results statement: "Operationally, we'll continue to improve the efficiency of our businesses while creating even more of the compelling content that's becoming increasingly valuable. Structurally, we'll complete the Time Warner Cable separation soon. At the same time, we'll strengthen our balance sheet, improve our strategic flexibility and return capital to our stockholders on a consistent basis. Through these steps, we expect to emerge from this downturn in an even stronger competitive position."

As big as the loss, it was not the company's record. MARKETWATCH reports that in the first quarter of 2002, as AOL Time Warner, it posted a $54 billion loss and a $45 billion loss in the second quarter of that year. Both times, it chalked the deficit to impairment charges.

Time Warner Cable will cut 1,250 jobs in a restructuring. Ad sales were up for the cable networks on the year.