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NEWSDAY's Mary Voboril reports the O.J. trial has not boosted profits for Court TV. Court TV Chair Steve Brill: "People say to us, 'This must be like what the gulf war was to CNN.' ... If anything, Simpson could have put us a little behind, because production costs are higher. We have to have more live remotes" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 1/19).
The planned $2B deal by Viacom to sell cable operations that serve 1.1M homes to Intermedia Partners could be halted because of a House probe into tax exemptions granted to minority controlled media companies. Intermedia Partners, a company connected to TCI, is in a partnership with African-American media executive Frank Washington. Under the current exemption, Viacom would be able to defer as much as $280M in capital-gains taxes on the sale (N.Y. POST, 1/19). TCI/QVC DEAL HITS FTC SNAG: TCI's agreement to buy QVC in partnership with Comcast Corp. is "running into significant antitrust problems with U.S. regulators." FTC attorneys have told TCI that they will seek not only to block the acquisition, but also to "try to force TCI to shed the 23% stake in QVC it already holds." The warning "suggests that the QVC deal faces serious obstacles." TCI and Comcast had agreed to acquire around 65% of QVC, but the FTC' concern is that the deal would result in TCI "having too much control over the cable-TV home shopping business (Novak & Robichaux, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/19).