NEW YORK -- After a 3 1/2 month struggle, QVC Network may be close to declaring itself the winner of Paramount Communications.
Viacom Inc., QVC's foe in the battle for the movie studio, has until 5:30 p.m. today to file an amended bid with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
As of press time Thursday, Viacom had not changed its bid.
QVC's offer is valued at $9.6 billion and Viacom's, at around $9.4 billion.
Once the winning bid is in, the tender offer must stay open for an additional 10 days. But the drama could play on.
"There are things that nobody thought of," said a source close to the bidding. "What happens, if after the 10-day period, no one gets 51 percent of the stock?"
Paramount declined comment on that question, but an industry expert said if neither got 51 percent of the stock, both parties could extend their offers and, potentially, raise their bids.
For the last week, Viacom has been rumored to be negotiating with its equity partners, Blockbuster Entertainment Corp. and Nynex Corp., for additional investments.
"The only two parties who don't think they're in very expensive land seem to be Barry Diller, [QVC's chairman] and Sumner Redstone [chairman of Viacom]," said James M. Meyer, director of research for Janney, Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia. "They have separated from a lot of Wall Street on just how much [their] vision is worth."
Meyer said both Nynex and Blockbuster want a stronger voice in the new company. The sticking point in the negotiations has been the fact that they all have their own -- sometimes competing -- agendas.
On Thursday, Paramount's stock closed at 78 1/2, up 1/4 on the New York Stock Exchange. Viacom's stock closed on the NYSE at 47, down 7/8, and QVC's stock closed at 39 1/2, down 1 on NASDAQ.
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
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The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
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