SBD/30/Sports Media

TIME WARNER AND TURNER CONSIDER THEIR OWN MEGA- MERGER

     "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).
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