By  on March 8, 1994

NEW YORK -- National Media, one of the largest infomercial companies in the U.S., has agreed to merge with ValueVision, an up-and-coming home shopping network, in a deal worth more than $150 million.

The agreement marks an about-face by National Media, which last month spurned a tender offer by ValueVision, saying it was identifying other firms that might be interested in a partnership.

National Media produces various types of infomercials, including fitness and beauty products. ValueVision is a comparatively new company seen as having long-term growth potential through a diversified home shopping and entertainment network.

National Media's board is recommending the company's shareholders accept ValueVision's amended offer of $11.50 a share of outstanding National Media stock.

The roles of Michael Hammond, National Media's president and John Turchi Jr., National Media's chief executive officer, are unclear.

ValueVision, which has also invested in Buckeye Communications, a marketing services and entertainment production company in New York, has hired Buckeye to manage National Media for the next three years.

Neither Hammond, who was president of Revlon North America, nor Turchi could not be reached for comment.

Buckeye is run by Mark Hershhorn, who was National Media's president and chief executive officer.

"The merger makes sense for ValueVision," said Mark Riely, a principal of MacDonald, Grippo, Riely, an entertainment consulting firm. "It's going to make the company a more significant player in the infomercial business and broaden ValueVision's reach by giving it entree into Europe through National Media's subsidiary, Quantum International."

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