Biondi Suits Up for Icahn to Help With Time Warner Fight

Jan 30, 2006  •  Post A Comment

The proxy fight between billionaire financier Carl Icahn and media giant Time Warner appeared to intensify Monday with an announcement by Mr. Icahn that former Universal Studios chairman Frank Biondi is joining his investor team.

Mr. Biondi, who is senior managing director of WaterView Advisors, will lead the Icahn group’s proxy fight and could be named chairman and CEO of Time Warner should the Icahn team prevail in electing its slate of nominees to the Time Warner board.

“Frank brings decades of experience building and running successful media businesses,” Mr. Icahn said in a statement. “He helped make Universal, Viacom and HBO into the successes they are today. We are confident he will do the same for HBO’s parent company, Time Warner.”

Enlisting the help of Mr. Biondi is the latest in an intensifying battle being waged by Mr. Icahn to spur change at the media giant, which he charges has missed opportunity after opportunity to take steps to jump-start its stock price. For the past several months, Mr. Icahn has been pressing Time Warner to take a number of steps designed to unlock value, including a complete spinoff of Time Warner Cable and the merger of many of Time Warner’s television and film assets with an Internet portal.

If named chairman and CEO of Time Warner, Mr. Biondi will use as his playbook a turnaround plan prepared by Mr. Icahn’s investment adviser Lazard Ltd. The investment firm is expected to release details of the Lazard analysis at a Feb. 7 presentation.