City & Business: Diller in the wings
Sunday 10 July 1994
In the United States, Larry Tisch, 71, chairman and 20 per cent stakeholder of the broadcasting group CBS, wants to retire, but has a different approach to appointing a successor. He's planning to merge his old-established television group with the brash home shopping group QVC. And with QVC comes its energetic boss, Barry Diller.
Diller is something of a living legend. A college drop-out, he was running the Hollywood studio Paramount Pictures by the age of 32. It was Diller who went on to head Rupert Murdoch's 20th Century Fox, Diller who - against all odds - turned Fox TV into a network to rival the big three, Diller who astonished Hollywood by quitting (with a dollars 30m pay-off) to join unglamorous QVC, and Diller who last year launched a dollars 101 2 bn hostile bid for Paramount Communications.
'It's there. It's for sale. And I can buy it,' he said with his customary staccato delivery. Three months later, when Paramount fell to a rival friendly merger with Viacom, he was equally succinct: 'They won. We lost. Next.'
Next has now arrived in the shape of CBS. The boards of CBS and QVC are each due to meet this week to ratify the dollars 7.1bn merger. It's unlikely, but there is still time for a rival bidder to spring out. Walt Disney, Turner Broadcasting, Time-Warner and any number of phone utilities have been suggested.
The complex deal would be a terrific coup for Diller, catapulting him back into television mainstream, and putting him head to head with his old boss, Murdoch.
But if he fails with this merger, his prospects start to look less bright. QVC's reputation is plunging almost as fast as its share price, which has halved in less than a year. It has been hit by disappointing sales, high start-up costs in the UK and elsewhere and some programme flops. So far, home shopping through cable TV has not quite proved the money-spinner he hoped. 'Killer' Diller needs the CBS deal badly. I dread to think how monosyllabic he'll get if it falls through.
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 4 Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting
- 5 Man hospitalised with pneumonia after downing eggnog at office Christmas party
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
iJobs Money & Business
Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...
£43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...