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HROUGH THE TURNER-TIME WARNER DEAL
Published September 27, 1995
Noting that Time Warner has agreed to pay TCI $360M in stock and cash to acquire Southern Satellite Inc., the TCI-owned company that distributes Turner's WTBS Superstation to cable operators, the WALL STREET JOURNAL's Eben Shapiro concludes that the Turner- Time Warner deal is "even sweeter" for TCI than first thought. Acquiring Southern Satellite is a first step toward Time Warner's goal of converting WTBS from a superstation to basic cable. Presently, WTBS's revenue comes in the form of ad sales and a distribution fee collected by Southern Satellite. The switch to basic cable could generate $100M annually for Time Warner and create an asset valued at more than $1B. Company officials said it was "premature" to discuss the type of programs the new WTBS would carry. The station would have to negotiate a new contract with MLB in order to continue carrying the Braves (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/27). The ATLANTA CONSTITUTION notes that Turner and Time Warner officials are "kicking around" the idea of airing the WB Network on WTBS (Charles Haddad, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 9/27). But ELECTRONIC MEDIA goes a step further, reporting WTBS will become WB's first owned-&-operated station (Diane Mermigas, ELECTRONIC MEDIA, 9/27).