TIME WARNER AND TURNER CONSIDER THEIR OWN MEGA- MERGER
Published August 30, 1995
"In a stunning climax to a summer of mammoth media deals, Time Warner Inc. is offering $8.5 billion to acquire Turner Broadcasting System," according to Mark Landler of the N.Y. TIMES. Turner has not yet decided whether to accept the offer, but execs close to the discussions say that TBS Chair Ted Turner is "enthusiastic" about the idea. The combined entity would be "the world's largest media company" -- surpassing even Disney/ABC. If TBS agrees, the Atlanta-based company would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Time Warner with Ted Turner becoming Vice Chair of Time Warner. The key is the response of TCI Chair John Malone, who is a 24% shareholder in TBS (N.Y. TIMES/ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 8/30). According to USA TODAY's David Lieberman, "TCI is unsure whether to give up its strong voice in the cable industry's most important programmer in exchange for a stake in its chief rival" (USA TODAY, 8/30). The WALL STREET JOURNAL notes that the deal is "far from assured" -- as Turner has considered selling before and then changed his mind, and there could be other bids. News Corp. and GE are possible Turner suitors. One source close to Turner: "Everybody is paranoid because of Disney and ABC. Everybody is saying, 'I've got to get enormous, too" (Sharpe & Shapiro, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/30). The N.Y. POST's John Durie: "Whether this deal ever sees the light of day remains to be seen. There are enormous regulatory and personality hurdles to cross before such a deal could close" (N.Y. POST, 8/30). INSIDE MEDIA: "As the story progresses, the key will be what [Time Warner CEO Gerald] Levin offered Malone, and if Malone approves" (INSIDE MEDIA ONLINE, 8/30). WHAT ARE THEY HOLDING: Turner Broadcasting includes CNN, WTBS, TNT, the Braves, the Hawks, SportSouth, and New Line Cinema and Castle Rock Entertainment. Time Warner includes Time Inc. -- Time, People, SI, Fortune, as well as Warner Bros., the WB Network, HBO, and TVKO (THE DAILY).