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IS WESTINGHOUSE BEST SUITED TO BID FOR A NETWORK?
Published July 20, 1995
As officials at Westinghouse and several investment banks continue their effort to arrange financing for an expected bid for CBS for at least $80 a share, several media observers are examining whether the company is best-suited to own the Tiffany Network. The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Elizabeth Jensen notes that while Group W, Westinghouse's broadcasting arm, is strong in local broadcasting, "it has never played the big network game. ... Many in the TV industry say what CBS needs is a visionary programmer such as Ted Turner or Barry Diller" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/20). FINANCIAL TIMES' Richard Walters: "An ailing industrial conglomerate with a debt-laden balance sheet and no experience of programming is not the most obvious saviour for CBS" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 7/20). In L.A., Sallie Hofmeister & James Bates note that Westinghouse is alone in the bidding, "raising questions about whether it would be overpaying for the network, especially if the advertising boom were to give way as economic growth slows." Other possible suitors such as Diller or Disney are not interested at the $80/share price, but the "wild card" is Turner -- the only one who may "buy on passion," according to an exec close to Turner (L.A. TIMES, 7/20). REUTERS' Sue Zeidler cites rumors that the purchase could lead to a "break-up" of Westinghouse, with real estate holdings and some of its defense unit on the block (DAILY VARIETY, 7/20).