Time Warner's bid for Turner Broadcasting appears to have stalled and it has begun to look doubtful that John Malone, chief executive of Telecommunications Inc, will agree to the current terms of the $8bn deal. Sources close to the talks, which have been going on for two weeks, say that although Time Warner and TBS are in agreement, Mr Malone, a notoriously tough negotiator, has been changing the terms. He has, in effect, the veto over the deal because Liberty Media, an affiliate of TCI, holds 21 per cent of Turner stock.
Current disputes centre on the swap value of Turner shares for those of Time Warner. Mr Malone has been pushing for a preferential rate that could give Liberty about 8 per cent of TW stock and $670m in profit that the heavily leveraged cable supplier badly needs.