CBS chief wants television merger with NBC
Friday 26 February 1999
His comments came as CBS's owner, Westinghouse, completes a corporate makeover. "If Exxon and Mobil can combine, then why can't I buy NBC?" said Mel Karmazin, speaking at the American Association of Advertising Agencies. NBC has recently lost Seinfeld, its top-rated show, and the National Football League, which is now televised by CBS.
Several of the television networks have been lobbying the Federal Communications Commission to repeal regulations that prevent networks from taking each other over. Mr Karmazin has made a number of comments recently about wanting to take over another network, and expanded on his thoughts yesterday after comments from an executive of Saatchi and Saatchi that media consolidation would hurt advertisers.
It was highly unlikely that Disney would sell ABC, Mr Karmazin said, and nor would he expect Rupert Murdoch to sell Fox. But NBC was not a good fit with General Electric, its current owner, he said.
GE responded swiftly that it was a "perfect fit". Its chief executive, Jack Welch, has said that NBC is worth up to $20bn, but Mr Karmazin said he would be prepared to "overpay" for the network, as he did for the rights to televise football.
That gamble paid off, bringing in new viewers and winning market share. There has already been speculation that NBC would be spun into a new business unit.
Mr Karmazin's comments shocked the market, which was unsure how seriously to take them. He has gained a reputation for shooting from the hip since he took over at CBS. The company is owned by Westinghouse, which last year sold its remaining nuclear energy business to British Nuclear Fuels, completing its transition to a media company.
It would be in line with recent trends in the US for vast mergers, however, and for rapid consolidation in the media business as networks, telecommunications and cable companies and Internet groups put together new configurations. Competition for the networks no longer just comes from each other, but from a wide variety of sources, and they are also dipping their toes into new media.
Mr Karmazin also said that CBS would move into the Internet, setting up a new subsidiary called CBS-plus.
- 1 Paris attacks: Do not call Charlie Hebdo killers 'terrorists', BBC says
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 5 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
Paris attacks: Do not call Charlie Hebdo killers 'terrorists', BBC says
Rowan Atkinson to sell £10 million McLaren 'supercar' he crashed into a tree and a lamppost
UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Howard 'Mr Nice' Marks reveals he has inoperable cancer: 'I've had an incredible life'
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...
£25 - 28k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An In-house / Internal Recruiter is needed to...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...