The billionaire founder of CNN sold 50 million shares, netting $784 million, and donated another 10 million to charity

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

March 4, 2003

1 Min Read

NEW YORK (AP) -- Ted Turner's stake in AOL Time Warner Inc. continues to dwindle as he sells shares and removes himself from the media company that has sapped much of his fortune.

The billionaire sold 50 million AOL Time Warner shares and donated 10 million more Monday, netting $784.2 million and slicing his share of the media giant to 45 million shares, or about 1 percent.

Turner sold his shares for $13.07 each, according to a person familiar with the sale price. That was 31 cents below their closing price Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.

He sold 50 million shares outright, and transferred another 10 million to a charitable trust, which then sold those shares, the company said. The Wall Street Journal reported that Goldman Sachs Group Inc. bought the shares.

In January, Turner announced that he would leave the company as vice chairman after its annual shareholders meeting on May 16. In a statement announcing the stock sale, AOL Time Warner said Turner had decided to remain on its board.

Turner founded Atlanta-based Cable News Network and Turner Broadcasting. He has repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction with the 2001 merger of America Online and Time Warner, although in its release the company said Turner "remains supportive of management" and would vote his shares in favor of company proposals.

Since AOL's merger with Time Warner in 2001, the company's shares have lost about 70 percent of their value, removing much of Turner's personal wealth, which was more than $7 billion in the late 1990s. The latest Forbes magazine ranking of the world's richest people listed the Georgia mogul's assets at $2 billion.

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