Time Warner: Back to the Future?

Don't let it get away!

Keep track of the stocks that matter to you.

Help yourself with the Fool's FREE and easy new watchlist service today.

Time Warner (NYSE: TWX  ) shareholders armed their company with the power to pump up its ailing stock price on Friday, but their chosen route to buoyancy is less than ideal.

Investors are granting the media giant the right to declare a reverse stock split, giving Time Warner elbow room to increase its share price after it completes its separation with Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC  ) this year.

Unlike the more conventional forward stock splits, which seem to trickle freely during bull markets, reverse stock splits work the other way around. Time Warner has the authorization to declare a 1-for-2 or 1-for-3 reverse split. For example, with its stock kicking off the new trading week at $9.61, a 1-for-2 split would find every two shares outstanding replaced by a single share at $19.22.

This maneuver is a zero sum game -- and a humbling one. However, with several other media titans like CBS (NYSE: CBS  ) and News Corp. (NYSE: NWS  ) watching their own share prices eroding into the single digits, more blue chips will be pondering reverse splits if stocks continue to deteriorate.

Last year found companies such as Sirius XM Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI  ) and Six Flags (NYSE: SIX  ) pondering reverse stock splits as a way to skirt possible delisting. Exchanges send out notices to stocks trading below $1.00 for 30 trading days, with 180 trading days to bounce back. Reverse splits are an obvious solution, though the exchanges have relaxed the enforcement given the market's swooning ways over the past year.

This doesn't mean that the companies don't want to be armed. Sirius can go as deep as a 1-for-50 reverse split this year. Watching a stock like 2007 reverse splitter Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: JAVA  ) give up all of the value of its 1-for-4 reverse is sobering, but we just don't know how much lower Sun would have gone without the accounting assist.

Time Warner? You're on the clock. Good luck.

Further Foolishness looks backward:

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz knows that you can't turn back time, but you can take back shares outstanding. He does own shares in Six Flags. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 813045, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/27/2016 5:26:42 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 8 hours ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,199.33 30.06 0.17%
S&P 500 2,139.43 -3.73 -0.17%
NASD 5,250.27 -33.13 -0.63%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/26/2016 4:02 PM
TWX $88.70 Up +1.54 +1.77%
Time Warner CAPS Rating: ***
CBS $56.78 Up +0.79 +1.41%
CBS CAPS Rating: ***
FOX $26.52 Up +0.81 +3.15%
Twenty-First Centu… CAPS Rating: ***
JAVA.DL $9.49 Down +0.00 +0.00%
Sun Microsystems,… CAPS Rating: **
SIRI $4.24 Up +0.05 +1.19%
Sirius XM Radio CAPS Rating: **
SIX $53.89 Up +2.64 +5.15%
Six Flags CAPS Rating: **
TWC.DL $0.00 Down +0.00 +0.00%
Time Warner Cable CAPS Rating: **