NETWORK NEWS: TURNER/TCI TANDEM; WHO'S CBS' NEW STRINGER?
TURNER & TCI EYE TIME WARNER'S TBS SHARES: Ted Turner and
TCI are negotiating to "jointly purchase" Time Warner's 19.4%
stake in Turner Broadcasting, according to this morning's WALL
STREET JOURNAL. Under the newest proposed deal, Time Warner has
dropped "its insistence that it receive" an asset such as the
Cartoon Network in exchange for Turner stock, instead, Time
Warner is expected to receive "a premium above" Turner's stock
price. Under a proposed joint purchase, TCI "will clearly have
more clout with Turner. ... Mr. Turner, meanwhile, might have
more flexibility to pursue his dream of acquiring a network"
(Sharpe & Shapiro, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/23).
SHAKE-UP AT BLACK ROCK: According to this morning's WALL
STREET JOURNAL, CBS Inc. is expected to name Peter Lund as
president of its Broadcast Group, succeeding Howard Stringer, who
has reached an agreement to head an interactive video venture
being launched by three Baby Bells. Stringer's new post, which
is expected to be announced today, has been rumored for several
weeks. Lund is currently an Exec VP at CBS Broadcast Group.
Lund had "primary responsibility" for renegotiating the NFL deal
CBS lost to Fox (Jensen & Lippman, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/23).
According to CNN's Steve Young, analysts told "Moneyline" that
outgoing QVC Chair Barry Diller is the most likely candidate to
replace Stringer. Analysts speculate that the new company being
headed by Stringer could make a run at CBS, but CNN's Young
reports that "there are roadblocks," such as federal regulations
that prohibit phone companies from owning TV stations. Young
reports that Disney could also be interested in making a play for
CBS. Paul Marsh, NatWest Securities media analyst: "Disney has
a real strategic interest. It has content. This would get it
closer to the advertising dollar" ("Moneyline," CNN, 2/22).