BROADCAST NEWS: TURNER GETS TIME WARNER'S O.K. FOR NBC BID
Time Warner has given its "blessing" to TBS President Ted
Turner for an "expected" direct bid to buy NBC according to a
report in USA TODAY. Time Warner has pulled out of the bidding
for NBC but retains veto rights over a Turner deal. GE
reportedly wants $6B for the network, NBC's seven O&O's and the
cable channels CNBC and America's Talking. GE CEO Jack Welch
wants to keep 51% control of NBC. Turner could cut the $400M
operational costs by "blending" news and entertainment resources
with NBC, but a potential Turner bid will face "complications"
with federal laws prohibiting TBS' cable operators from owning
over 5% of a net. Time Warner has proposed trading TBS shares
for "control" of Turner properties but has yet to agree on a
price (Lieberman & Dorfman, USA TODAY, 10/25).
CAPITAL INCREASE: Cap Cities/ABC reports a 71% profit
increase to $133.7M for the third quarter. Profits increased "in
the wake of another impressive performance" from network and
cable efforts and a "still-favorable" advertising climate.
Broadcasting revenues climbed 13% and operating income "soared"
67% under cost control measures (Patrick Harverson, FINANCIAL
TIMES, 10/25). Goldman, Sachs analyst Barry Kaplan predicts
"pretty clear sailing for the foreseeable future" and believes
Cap Cities is "benefitting from the improved general climate for
the industry." Cap Cities/ABC shares closed yesterday at
$77.625, up 50 cents (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/25).
BRINGING GE'S DEALINGS TO LIGHT: A federal price-fixing
trial begins today against GE. The Justice Department's
antitrust suit contends GE "tried to increase profits in its
industrial diamonds business by bidding up prices in concert"
with Swiss competitor De Beers Centenary A.G (Richard Ringer, NEW
YORK TIMES, 10/25).