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CBS Inc. reported a "sharply lower" third-quarter net income of $58.4M, of 77 cents a share. CBS attributed the decline "mainly to higher taxes and a one-time gain in 1993's third quarter." David Londoner, an analyst at Wertheim Schroder & Co., said the results were in line with his expectations "because so much of the year-earlier profit came from a variety of nonrecurring items." CBS stock fell 9 1/2 points to close at 329.50. The CBS TV Network reported lower operating income, but CBS Sports had a higher operating income due to the absence of football and baseball in '94, resulting in lower costs (Elizabeth Jensen, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/13). The drop in stock price "wiped out most of the gain of $11.75 that shares of CBS had posted on Monday and Tuesday, after unconfirmed reports" had CBS Chair Laurence Tisch in discussions with QVC's Barry Diller about Diller running the network. On the positive side, CBS said ad sales at O&O's in L.A., Chicago and Miami rose by more than 10% (Susan Antilla, N.Y. TIMES, 10/13). ABC'S DEAL WITH THE SEC: As expected, ABC retained the rights to the SEC college football championship playoff, in a 5- year, $20M deal for 1996-2000. The deal, completed late Monday during ABC's exclusive negotiating period, is a 122% increase from ABC's $1.8M annual contract ending in '95. CBS has the rights, beginning next year, to SEC regular season games (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 10/13).
Mutual Sports Dir Larry Michael says the radio network landed rights to the '96 Olympics (USA TODAY, 10/13).... Times Mirror Co. said it settled "extensive shareholder litigation that threatened to block" the pending $2.3B sale of its cable-TV operation to Cox Enterprises (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/13)....Web Broadcasting Systems, Inc., in conjunction with SportsTicker, has announced the creation of Web SportsNet, a national videotex and graphics sports news and info service for arenas, stadiums and their luxury boxes, hotels, race tracks and casinos (SPORTSTICKER).... Sammons Communications Inc., a closely held cable-TV operator serving 1.1M subscribers, said it is seeking a buyer for its cable systems. A sale of Sammons could approach $2B (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/13).