Is Capital Research Flexing its Muscle?
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Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Is Capital Research Flexing its Muscle?

If the measure of a fund firm's success is the renown of its portfolio managers, Fidelity may be about to be eclipsed. Just take a look at the kisses blown in the direction of Capital Research and Management's Gordon Crawford in today's Wall Street Journal.

Crawford, whose portfolio management skills are on display at five of the American Funds (including the $36 billion Growth Fund of America) is said by the paper to be at the center of the action in the media industry and to have played a key role in the goings on at AOL Time Warner. Yesterday AOL honcho Steve Case resigned from his day-to-day role at the firm.

The paper adds that Crawford has become "unusually influential" and that he has build ties to key media executives, including Ted Turner and Liberty Media's John Malone. It added that he, along with Turner and Malone, convinced Case to resign.

Crawford flexed his muscle by warning AOL that he would vote Capital Research's 7.6 percent share of AOL Time Warner against Case at the May shareholders' meeting. The threat was credible because Turner was also willing to vote with Crawford, reports the paper.

Assuming that Crawford is indeed the kingmaker that the Journal implies he has become, look for Reuben Mark, now CEO of Colgate-Palmolive to succeed Case. He is reportedly Crawford's man.

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