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Time Warner Reports 34% Increase In Fourth-Quarter Profit

Time Warnerprofit jumped 34% in the fourth quarter, boosted by the sale of Internet access businesses in Europe and a deal that added new subscribers to its cable TV unit.

The world's largest media company, which owns Warner Bros., Time and the second-largest cable TV operator in the country, reported it earned $1.75 billion, or 44 cents a share, for the three months ending in December, up from $1.3 billion, or 28 cents a share, in the same period a year ago.

Revenues rose 8% to $12.5 billion from $11.5 billion.

The results included a gain of $769 million from the sale of AOL's Internet access businesses in the U.K. and France as well as a restructuring charge at AOL of $179 million. AOL is in the midst of revamping its business model away from selling Internet access and towards selling advertising online.

Excluding those gains and other one-time effects, operating income before depreciation and amortization rose 13% to $3 billion from $2.7 billion in the same period a year ago on higher profits from cable TV systems and cable TV networks such as HBO and TBS.

The company also recorded an expense of $615 million related to securities litigation. Excluding various one-time items and discontinued operations in both periods, the company had profits of 22 cents a share in the most recent period, in line with the estimates of analysts polled by Thomson Financial, versus 23 cents per share in the year-ago period.

Time Warner's cable unit in July of last year acquired a number of cable subscribers from Adelphia Communications Corp. in a three-way deal with Comcast Corp., the top cable company in the country. Following the deal, Time Warner had about 13.4 million cable subscribers.

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