TW Feels Discord

Even though Time Warner was only a sideline observer when its former division, Warner Music Group, launched a tepid IPO, there still wasn’t too much love at TW’s recent shareholders meeting.

For the first time since 2000, TW said it will start paying a regular quarterly cash dividend of 5 cents per share starting after this year’s third quarter.

That still didn’t sit well with some stockholders at the New York City meeting May 20th. TW’s stock has dropped 70 percent since 2001, and one animated shareholder was uncomfortable with CEO Richard Parsons’ $16 million salary.

“Don’t tell me you’re going to give me a nickel. I don’t need your nickel,” the stockholder said. “You insult my integrity when you tell me you’re giving me a nickel when you’re getting $16 million.”

Others asked Parsons why the company’s stock – which hovers in the $17 to $18 a share range – is underperforming both similar media companies and the S&P 500 over the past four years.

“Take a look at me. Do you think I’ll live long enough to see the stock get to $40?” asked an 81-year-old stockholder.

A shareholders meeting is usually filled with gripes. And, in fairness, Parsons is credited with directing the company through a difficult merger with AOL and trimming TW’s debt, which led to an easy reelection by the company’s board of directors.

Also, after the company sold WMG to Edgar Bronfman Jr., it passed on investing in the IPO, which fell flat on its launch. TW had a 15 percent stake in the venture but sold it back to Warner Music for $140 million before the outset, according to Variety.

Then again, after the shareholders meeting, TW’s stock fell 10 cents to $17.65 a share.