NETWORK NEWS: FOR SALE SIGN STILL IN FRONT OF CBS
Published May 22, 1995
The uncertainty surrounding CBS is the subject of profiles in the WALL STREET JOURNAL and the L.A. TIMES this morning. In L.A., Sallie Hofmeister and Jane Hall call Connie Chung's demotion from the anchor desk "the latest sign of trouble" at the network. In addition to problems in prime time, news, sports and with affiliates, "the biggest question remains who will own the network six months from now." Despite CBS Chair & CEO Laurence Tisch's statements that CBS is not for sale, "investment bankers representing possible bidders say otherwise" (L.A. TIMES, 5/22). Tisch has been talking to potential buyers -- with Barry Diller and Ted Turner topping most lists -- for over a year, and is said to be holding out for $80 a share, or almost $6B (Elizabeth Jensen, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/22). PEACOCK FLYING HIGH: NBC has emerged from a low-point in '93 to become "the best-positioned network in the business," according to this morning's N.Y. TIMES. A strong prime-time lineup, satellite delivery to Europe and Asia, cable franchises and emerging multimedia possibilities through deals such as the one last week with Microsoft add up to a "shift in the NBC's fortunes [which] has allowed the network to take a tougher stand in its negotiations with potential buyers or those interested in merging." NBC President Robert Wright said a merger with Turner is "still the best thing for both companies," but that "it isn't likely to happen." Wright: "It's getting real expensive to buy NBC" (Bill Carter, N.Y. TIMES, 5/22). After GE CEO Jack Welch's recent successful heart operation, BUSINESS WEEK raises the issue of possible succession and notes that there is "no clear-cut No. 2 executive" at the company. Wright is one of eight GE execs listed as possible replacements for the day Welch steps down (Tim Smart, BUSINESS WEEK, 5/29). MURDOCH: News Corp. Chair Rupert Murdoch is profiled in the current BUSINESS WEEK as "the one media mogul loaded with resources." Murdoch said the joint venture with MCI, which brought News Corp. $2B, will be an "acquisition vehicle." Murdoch: "We will (invest in) the media business. It won't be a steel mill." Murdoch, on interactivity: "I think it will happen. I'm just very cautious about when" (BUSINESS WEEK, 5/29 issue). Murdoch also said News Corp. plans to put all of its more than 130 newspapers on-line within a couple of years, as a way of building on the MCI venture (REUTERS, 5/20).