Wall Street looks for new QVC bidder

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The Independent Online
NEW YORK - Wall Street hopes another bidder will emerge this week for QVC Network following last Tuesday's takeover offer from Comcast, which wrecked the proposed merger between QVC and CBS, writes Michael Marray.

On Friday QVC stock continued its climb and hit dollars 45 in late afternoon trading from an opening price of dollars 43.44. This took it above the level of the Comcast offer, which consists of dollars 37 in cash per share plus some Comcast convertible preferred stock with an estimated value of dollars 7 a share.

The Comcast offer puts a price tag of dollars 2.2bn on QVC, which operates television shopping channels.

Barry Diller, QVC's chairman, has said he will closely examine the Comcast offer while exploring other options. But the betting is that he would want to leave QVC, realising around dollars 100m as he did so, if the Comcast deal succeeded, and he is holding exploratory talks with other potential buyers.

Mr Diller wanted a merger with CBS in order to return to a high- profile television industry role with control over programming, the area where he made his reputation as a Hollywood studio chief and later running Rupert Murdoch's Fox television network.

Last year Mr Diller and QVC lost out to Viacom in a long battle for Paramount Communications.