Time Warner and Carl Icahn confirmed late Friday that they had reached a truce. Under it, Icahn gives up his demand to split up the country into four units and Time Warner agrees to increase its stock buyback to $20 billion and implement a $1-billion cost-cutting program. The sides said that they would consult on the appointment of two new independent members to its board of directors. In a statement, Time Warner Chairman Richard Parsons said, "We are very pleased to have reached an understanding with Mr. Icahn. We appreciate his role as a significant shareholder as well as his constructive suggestions." Today's (Monday) Financial Times observed that the biggest winner in the settlement is likely to be Frank Biondi, who formerly headed Viacom and Universal. The newspaper pointed out that when Icahn hired Biondi to aid him in his battle with Time Warner, he guaranteed him at least $6 million, regardless of which way the battle went. (The figure could go substantially higher if Time Warner shares go up.) In an interview with the FT, Biondi remarked, "It beats minimum wage, that's for sure."


20/02/2006