IS WESTINGHOUSE BEST SUITED TO BID FOR A NETWORK?
As officials at Westinghouse and several investment banks
continue their effort to arrange financing for an expected bid
for CBS for at least $80 a share, several media observers are
examining whether the company is best-suited to own the Tiffany
Network. The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Elizabeth Jensen notes that
while Group W, Westinghouse's broadcasting arm, is strong in
local broadcasting, "it has never played the big network game.
... Many in the TV industry say what CBS needs is a visionary
programmer such as Ted Turner or Barry Diller" (WALL STREET
JOURNAL, 7/20). FINANCIAL TIMES' Richard Walters: "An ailing
industrial conglomerate with a debt-laden balance sheet and no
experience of programming is not the most obvious saviour for
CBS" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 7/20). In L.A., Sallie Hofmeister & James
Bates note that Westinghouse is alone in the bidding, "raising
questions about whether it would be overpaying for the network,
especially if the advertising boom were to give way as economic
growth slows." Other possible suitors such as Diller or Disney
are not interested at the $80/share price, but the "wild card" is
Turner -- the only one who may "buy on passion," according to an
exec close to Turner (L.A. TIMES, 7/20). REUTERS' Sue Zeidler
cites rumors that the purchase could lead to a "break-up" of
Westinghouse, with real estate holdings and some of its defense
unit on the block (DAILY VARIETY, 7/20).