Time Warner Inc reported stronger quarterly profit and slightly higher revenue courtesy of hit movies like Sherlock Holmes and The Hangover, and it became the second major media company in as many days to raise its dividend.
Time Warner, slimmed down since spinning off both Time Warner Cable and AOL last year, posted fourth-quarter net income of $627 million, or 53 cents a share, reversing a year-earlier net loss of $16 billion, or $13.41 a share, that included a host of impairment charges.
Excluding items, profit rose to 55 cents a share from 19 cents, the company said on Wednesday.
With a business increasingly concentrated on movies, magazine and TV shows, Time Warner's revenue rose 2 percent to $7.3 billion, above analysts' forecasts, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Time Warner also said it would use part of its cash to return money to shareholders, unveiling plans to boost its dividend by 13.3 percent and increase the money set aside to repurchase stock to $3 billion from $1 billion. Rival News Corp announced plans on Tuesday to increase its dividend.
Looking ahead, Time Warner said it expected 2010 earnings to rise in the mid-teens on a percentage basis.
(Reporting by Paul Thomasch; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)