TED TURNER VENTS ABOUT TIME WARNER BLOCKING HIS NETWORK BID
Published September 28, 1994
TBS President Ted Turner used an address before the National Press Club as an opportunity to lash out at Time Warner, claiming that they are using their position as a TBS stockholder to block Turner from purchasing a network. Time Warner owns about 20% of TBS stock. ON TIME WARNER: "I had a basic deal worked out to acquire NBC, a little over a year ago, for about $5B. ... And I went to Time Warner with that, and they said no. ... When they told me not to buy the Home Shopping Network, I said O.K. When they wouldn't let me buy FNN years ago, before NBC ended up buying it, I said O.K. ... They said the network business is a lousy business. You don't want to be in the network business. But now, they're trying to get a network." Later, Turner said: "I haven't made any charges; I haven't filed any lawsuits; I haven't filed any complaints with the FCC or the Justice Department ... yet. And I hope I don't have to" (THE DAILY). GE RESPONDS: In an interview with "Nightly Business Report," GE Chair Jack Welch denied Turner's claim that he had a deal to buy NBC: "I can't believe Ted Turner said that. Ted Turner never had a deal to buy NBC" (PBS, 9/27). ON TV RIGHTS: Turner used the World Cup TV rights as an example of why he needs a network: "We carried the World Cup four years ago [and] paid them a fair price. This time, when the World Cup came up, we were the incumbents, but ABC and ESPN came in, and ESPN said we'll put a number of the games on our network that reaches everybody. And the soccer people said, 'look Ted, it's not even a question of dollars; we need that exposure'" (THE DAILY). ON THE '96 GAMES: Turner: "I helped get the Olympics in 1996 because CNN is from there [Atlanta]. I couldn't even bid for the Olympics, not allowed to be a bidder. NBC, ABC, CBS, yes. ... And the local people in Atlanta want to know why I'm not enthusiastic about the Olympics. I don't even have a smidgen. I'm able to buy tickets in the 50th row back. I'm tired of it" (THE DAILY). ON BASEBALL: Turner on baseball's anti-trust exemption: "It doesn't make any difference to me. We have more trouble than any other sport, and we've got the exemption. ... I never thought it meant diddly-squat." Turner added that the strike "could" break the MLBPA: "It seriously can weaken it, let's say, but I mean, the players union gambled that the owners would cave in rather than lose the World Series, and they've used up most of their leverage" (THE DAILY).