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MEGA-MEDIA DEALS: WHAT'S LEFT FOR EVERYONE ELSE?
Published August 3, 1995
In the wake of this week's blockbuster media mergers of Disney and Cap Cities/ABC and Westinghouse and CBS, the entertainment media has turned its attention this morning to the biggest names in the industry who don't own a major network: Turner, Seagram's/MCA, Time Warner and Viacom. As stated by Bishop Cheen, senior analyst at Paul Kagan & Assoc.: "There's nothing that says the big won't simply get bigger" (Alan Goldstein, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 8/3). BUY, OR BE BOUGHT: In L.A., Sallie Hofmeister reports, while GE's not-for-sale position was unchanged, "the entertainment industry was abuzz with speculation that NBC might soon make a deal with Turner, Time Warner or possibly others. At the same time, some analysts were continuing to predict that another bidder will come forward for CBS, taking it out of Westinghouse's hands." As for NBC, the network is "now under greater pressure than ever to pick a studio partner and to improve its distribution reach." While GE could "swallow" a studio, or a company such as Turner that owns a studio, a "more likely match" would be GE and Time Warner. Other scenarios include Turner, Time Warner and TCI combining to bid for CBS (L.A. TIMES, 8/3). NO WORD FROM ATLANTA: While Turner Broadcasting had no official comment on the week's events, one unnamed Turner exec said, "We're surveying what the world looks like today as opposed to a week ago and looking at every option. Anything could happen. Nothing could happen" (REUTERS/ DAILY VARIETY, 8/3). This morning's ATLANTA CONSTITUTION has a report from BLOOMBERG BUSINESS NEWS that Seagram's President Edgar Bronfman is seeking to swap his stake in Time Warner in exchange for Time Warner's stake in Turner in order to create a TCI-Turner-Seagram alliance that could bid for a network (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 8/3). The WALL STREET JOURNAL states that Turner's "best bet may be to resume talks with NBC, where he was close to a deal last year, and consider minority ownership in a combined company if he is offered a large and powerful role in a new concern" (Landro, Trachtenberg & Shapiro, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/3). TIME WARNER & FRIENDS: In San Francisco, Jeff Pelline promotes a merger between Time Warner and GE, which would be a more than $20B deal (S.F. CHRONICLE, 8/3). The WALL STREET JOURNAL says that Seagram is likely to "link up" with Westinghouse-CBS "down the road, possibly providing cash in exchange for an equity stake" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/3).