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Time Warner Hires Eastdil as It Mulls Leaving Building

Time Warner Inc. hired real estate brokerage Eastdil Secured LLC to evaluate its headquarters in Manhattan, taking a step toward leaving the iconic twin-towered building for less-expensive space.

Eastdil will determine the market value for the company’s 1.1 million-square-foot (100,000-square-meter) building, said Keith Cocozza, a spokesman for the media company. No decision has been made on whether it will sell or lease the Time Warner Center, a glass-clad structure overlooking Columbus Circle near Central Park.

Time Warner Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Bewkes is working to trim costs and focus on the business’s lucrative TV operations. The company, which owns HBO, CNN and Warner Bros., announced plans last month to split off its sluggish Time Inc. magazine group after a failed attempt to form a joint venture with publisher Meredith Corp.

The Time Warner Center has become one of midtown Manhattan’s best-known buildings since it opened in 2004. In addition to office space, it houses upscale restaurants, shopping and a Whole Foods market.

Reuters reported yesterday that Time Warner had hired Eastdil. The company has been considering the move since at least 2011, when Bewkes called the Time Warner Center “an indulgence” in an interview with the New York Times.

Eastdil managing director Douglas Harmon, who is in charge of the effort, recently represented Sony Corp. in the $1.1 billion sale of its Manhattan headquarters.

Time Warner shares have climbed 65 percent in the past year, lifted by profit gains at its television business. The company posted a 21 percent gain in operating income in the fourth quarter, largely because of growth in programming revenue for its cable channels, such as HBO.

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