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NETWORK NEWS: CBS STOCK SOARS ON TALK OF WESTINGHOUSE BID
Published July 18, 1995
Westinghouse Electric Corp. is planning to make a bid to buy CBS from Chair Laurence Tisch, according to multiple reports this morning. Yesterday, CBS' stock jumped 4 1/8 after CNBC financial analyst Dan Dorfman reported that Westinghouse was preparing a bid for $83 a share. Tisch, who has publicly maintained that the net is not for sale, has been said to holding out for at least $80 a share. The N.Y. TIMES, which reports that the deal would be for about $5.8B in cash, adds that the deal "has its logic" (Geraldine Fabrikant, N.Y. TIMES, 7/18). The WALL STREET JOURNAL cautions that "talks could continue for a long time," and that the offer could be used by Tisch to "start an auction." Merging CBS and Westinghouse, however, would create the largest TV station group in the U.S., covering 32% of TV homes (Jensen/Narisetti, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/18). USA TODAY lists the positives and negatives, noting that four of Group W's stations are CBS affils. However, Barry Diller, another long- rumored CBS suitor, "is said to be telling friends that a deal with Group W would set CBS back 10 years" (David Lieberman, USA TODAY, 7/18). LABATT BROADCAST ARM FINALLY SOLD: Belgian Brewer Intrebrew S.A. confirmed the sale of Labatt Communications Inc. (LCI) to a consortium led by LCI management for about C$605M, according to this morning's FINANCIAL POST. LCI's assets include TSN -- The Sports Network, 80% of the Discovery Channel, 25% of Viewer's Choice pay-per-view, Dome Productions, the Rep Shoppe, an ad sales agency, 35% in NTN Canada, an interactive TV company, and RDS, the French-language sports channel. Investors in the LCI group include Stephen Bronfman (28.6%), pension fund manager Caisse de depot and placement du Quebec (28.6%), Reitman's Ltd. (21%), and ABC/Cap Cities' ESPN (20%). The path is now clear for finalization of Labatt's sale to Intrebrew, with other non- brewery assets, the Blue Jays, Argonauts and 42% of SkyDome also likely to be sold (Paul Brent, FINANCIAL POST, 7/18). FOX AFFILS NOT SOLD ON BASEBALL: Fox will have a "hard sell" to get affiliates to buy into the concept of Saturday afternoon baseball, according to BROADCASTING & CABLE. Fox affils contacted by B&C said that Saturday games "would fly in the face of Fox's 'less-is-more' philosophy, which touts fewer hours of network programming so that stations can take full advantage of local and syndication programming and sales opportunities." Affiliate execs in twelve markets said they all experienced revenue losses from Fox's Sunday afternoon NHL coverage (Steve McClellan, B&C, 7/17 issue).