Fox, ESPN and CBS have "all expressed interest recently in buying part or all" of Host Communications, the sports marketing agency which handles NCAA corporate sponsorships, according to "reliable sources" of BRANDWEEK's Terry Lefton. Lefton: "An alliance with Host would allow CBS to package NCAA rights with its stem-to-stern Final Four tournament coverage. But don't forget that ESPN also televises many NCAA championship events." Host Founder Jim Host: "The (Host) board has not met to consider any offer, so I'd be hard pressed to say we're closer to anything then we have been before" (Terry Lefton, BRANDWEEK, 1/5 issue).
Russell Corp. "warned fourth-quarter earnings may fall 50 percent to 60 percent from a year ago on sluggish holiday and fall sales" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/31)....Atop Dow Jones' list of the industry's "Worst Performers" of '97 was the footwear category, which was down 33.44% for the year (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/2)....Florida Panthers Holdings has agreed to acquire the Arizona Biltmore resort, located in Phoenix, for $225M in cash and stock (Dow Jones).
IL-based Sara Lee will "sell the bulk of its US yarn and textile operations to privately-owned National Textiles," according to Nikki Tait of the FINANCIAL TIMES. The sale would cover nine of Sara Lee's 13 yarn and textile plants in the U.S. The TIMES estimates the "cashflow benefits to Sara Lee would total about" $600M during the next three years. The textile and yarn operations supply to Sara Lee's knitwear and personal products division, which includes Hanes and Champion (FINANCIAL TIMES, 1/6). In Chicago, Nancy Millman reports the sale is the "first step" in Sara Lee's strategy to become "more of a marketer than a manufacturer" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/6).