Time Warner (TWX) is expected to report Q1 earnings before the market open on Wednesday, April 29, with a conference call scheduled for 10:30 am ET.
Analysts are looking for a profit of 38c on revenue of $6.8B. The consensus range is 21c-45c for EPS, and revenue of $6.5B-$7.16B, according to First Call. In February, the company forecast FY09 EPS "about flat" compared to 66c in FY08, which reflects approximately $250M in charges related to restructuring at AOL and Warner Bros. The FY09 EPS consensus estimate is $1.96. Analysts believe this quarter will be weak, due to tough comps at its Filmed Entertainment Segment, as well as steep advertising declines that are likely to hurt AOL and Publishing. One bright spot may be the Cable Networks unit, which will benefit from growth in affiliate fees and stable advertising trends. Bloomberg reported that the company may announce a resolution on AOL that would unwind the merger and enable the company to focus on its cable-television assets and films.
UBS analyst Michael Morris believes AOL may be a separate company as soon as six months from now; Time Warner recently asked holders of $12.3B of bonds to okay changes in covenants that are limiting its maneuverability to rid itself of AOL's assets. Citigroup believes the hiring of AOL's new CEO, the decision by Google (GOOG) to register its AOL rights, and continued efforts by Time Warner's CEO to focus on content creation all point to an AOL spin-off.