TED TURNER VENTS ABOUT TIME WARNER BLOCKING HIS NETWORK BID
TBS President Ted Turner used an address before the National
Press Club as an opportunity to lash out at Time Warner, claiming
that they are using their position as a TBS stockholder to block
Turner from purchasing a network. Time Warner owns about 20% of
ON TIME WARNER: "I had a basic deal worked out to acquire
NBC, a little over a year ago, for about $5B. ... And I went to
Time Warner with that, and they said no. ... When they told me
not to buy the Home Shopping Network, I said O.K. When they
wouldn't let me buy FNN years ago, before NBC ended up buying it,
I said O.K. ... They said the network business is a lousy
business. You don't want to be in the network business. But
now, they're trying to get a network." Later, Turner said: "I
haven't made any charges; I haven't filed any lawsuits; I
haven't filed any complaints with the FCC or the Justice
Department ... yet. And I hope I don't have to" (THE DAILY).
GE RESPONDS: In an interview with "Nightly Business
Report," GE Chair Jack Welch denied Turner's claim that he had a
deal to buy NBC: "I can't believe Ted Turner said that. Ted
Turner never had a deal to buy NBC" (PBS, 9/27).
ON TV RIGHTS: Turner used the World Cup TV rights as an
example of why he needs a network: "We carried the World Cup four
years ago [and] paid them a fair price. This time, when the
World Cup came up, we were the incumbents, but ABC and ESPN came
in, and ESPN said we'll put a number of the games on our network
that reaches everybody. And the soccer people said, 'look Ted,
it's not even a question of dollars; we need that exposure'" (THE
ON THE '96 GAMES: Turner: "I helped get the Olympics in
1996 because CNN is from there [Atlanta]. I couldn't even bid
for the Olympics, not allowed to be a bidder. NBC, ABC, CBS,
yes. ... And the local people in Atlanta want to know why I'm not
enthusiastic about the Olympics. I don't even have a smidgen.
I'm able to buy tickets in the 50th row back. I'm tired of it"
ON BASEBALL: Turner on baseball's anti-trust exemption: "It
doesn't make any difference to me. We have more trouble than any
other sport, and we've got the exemption. ... I never thought it
meant diddly-squat." Turner added that the strike "could" break
the MLBPA: "It seriously can weaken it, let's say, but I mean,
the players union gambled that the owners would cave in rather
than lose the World Series, and they've used up most of their
leverage" (THE DAILY).