TURNER REMAINS TENACIOUS IN HIS BID FOR A NETWORK
Published December 14, 1994
In its latest attempt to acquire a broadcast network, Turner Broadcasting is "pressing forward" with a proposal to acquire NBC from GE in a deal that would give GE 35% of a combined Turner-NBC company. In the proposed deal, Turner would get NBC "in a plan valued at about $5 billion, including about $2 billion in Turner stock." GE has discussed a sale with Time Warner and Disney, but "those talks haven't been fruitful." Turner has the support of TCI, which owns around 25% of Turner stock. Time Warner, which owns 20% of Turner stock, is said to have some "disagreements" with the deal and would agree to the purchase "only if Turner is willing to trade Time Warner's stake for an asset such as TNT or the Cartoon Network. In the past, Turner has been reluctant to part with any broadcasting assets (Lippman & Sharpe, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/14). The deal is expected to be discussed at a GE board meeting this Friday, however, it was stressed that it was "highly unlikely any decision would be reached" (Robin Schatz, N.Y. NEWSDAY, 12/13). According to sources close to TCI, Time Warner continues to be "cautious and unwilling to make a commitment" (Frederic Biddle, BOSTON GLOBE, 12/13). MORE FROM THE WRIGHT? Wright, asked why NBC waited until now to challenge the foreign ownership of Fox: "We probably wouldn't have challenged Fox had it not been for the formation of a holding company called Fox Savoy ... to purchase affiliates through the country." Wright on what NBC hopes to gain from the FCC complaint: "I hope we get a clear picture from the FCC of what the foreign-ownership rules are." Wright on the possible sale of NBC: "GE is not panting to part with NBC" (NEWSWEEK, 12/19). Sources tell the WALL STREET JOURNAL that Wright "favors" the Turner proposal (Lippman & Sharpe, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/14).