TIME FOR TURNER

IN BUYING TURNER BROADCASTING, TIME WARNER'S JERRY LEVIN GOT WHAT HE ALWAYS WANTED. BUT IN TED, DID HE GET MORE THAN HE BARGAINED FOR?

Like a gambler unwilling to cut his losses, Time Warner CEO Gerald M. Levin keeps doubling his bet. In 1989 Levin, then vice chairman, negotiated Time Inc.'s buyout of Warner Communications, an acquisition that enriched Warner's shareholders but not Time Inc.'s. Without making much of a dent in the $11 billion debt incurred by the deal, Levin kept rolling the dice. He sold pieces of the new company into complex partnerships that raised billions but tied up Time Warner's best assets, including Warner Bros. studios and HBO. And instead of paying down the mortgage, Levin went out and bought a couple...

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