Monday, April 22, 2013

CBS For Sale?

Broadcast is big business.  Comcast completed its full ownership of NBC from General Electric earlier this year, while Disney acquired ABC many years ago from CapCities.  Now comes word that CBS, part of Sumner Redstone's empire could be for sale with the likely buyer being Time Warner, Inc.  "Gabelli & Co. said buying the most-watched broadcast network would give Time Warner, owner of cable channels such as CNN and TNT, more negotiating leverage to win higher fees from pay-television systems that carry its programming."  In a world of aggregating and leveraging content to aid license deals, such a move makes sense.  Why Viacom split from CBS in the first place was always a head scratcher.  Could Viacom become another takeover target?

In the recent NCAA Basketball Championship, CBS and Turner (a division of TW) seemed to work quite well together, promoting each other's games.  Having a broadcast partner in CBS would bring great internal partnerships.  "Their strengths are complementary -- Time Warner runs Hollywood’s most-prolific studio and CBS has the highest broadcast TV ratings -- and both plan asset sales to focus on those areas."  Whether Sumner is ready to let go of CBS, like Ted Turner did many years ago when he sold his Turner empire to TW, remains to be seen.  But the timing seems right for both parties to come together.

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