BLOCKBUSTER-VIACOM MERGER APPROVED BY SHAREHOLDERS
Blockbuster Entertainment shareholders approved the
company's merger with Viacom, but not without reservations.
About 60% of the 255M eligible shares were cast in favor of the
merger (Dupont & Finefrock, MIAMI HERALD, 9/30). In New York,
Martin Peers noted that Viacom's Sumner Redstone "is now the
world's No. 2 media mogul." 95% of Viacom shareholders approved
the deal. The merger makes Viacom the 2nd biggest U.S.-based
media company in the world, after Time Warner. In just seven
months, Redstone has taken Viacom from a $8.8B company to a $26B
giant, following takeovers of Paramount and Blockbuster (N.Y.
POST, 9/30). CNN interviewed Redstone and Viacom CEO Frank
Biondi. Redstone: "We relentlessly refused to let the Blockbuster
merger die." Redstone denied "reports and rumors" that Viacom is
looking to buy CNN. Biondi pointed out the importance of having
a net, but that the price of buying one would not be a "rational"
purchase ("Moneyline," CNN, 9/29).
WHAT'S NEXT FOR HUIZENGA? Friends have speculated that
Huizenga would initially focus on his sports teams. But Huizenga
notes: "You can't build a sports team." He ideally would like to
acquire a company with sales between $300M and $500M and double
its size. Huizenga: "At that size, you can double and double
and double again." Some associates expect Huizenga to buy or
start a cable network or broadcast TV station to showcase his
sports teams. Others close to him expect him to acquire from
Viacom the planned 2,500-acre entertainment complex -- Wayne's
World -- that Blockbuster wants to develop (WALL STREET JOURNAL,