NEW YORK -- Securities analysts, responding to reports that Turner Broadcasting Systems is nearing a deal to acquire Home Shopping Network, said the idea is not very far-fetched.
"It has enough elements of logic that you feel there's probably something there," said Mark Reily, a principal of McDonald, Grippo, Reily, a consulting firm for the entertainment industry. "There are strategic issues for John Malone, [chairman of Tele-Communications Inc., which has a controlling state in HSN] to get out of HSN and get a bigger stake in Turner." TCI also has a stake in TBS.
"I think TCI is uncomfortable, despite what they say publicly, with the position they have with HSN and QVC," Reily added. "They are part of the controlling triumverate of QVC. This creates an uncomfortable situation, and potential conflict, because to some extent these entities are supposed to be competitive."
Ted Turner, chairman of TBS, is said to be interested in Silver King, the group of 11 television stations that was spun off from HSN, presumably for a fifth network.
HSN holds debt on the books of Silver King and has a symbiotic relationship with the stations, through an agreement that allows HSN to air its home shopping programming on Silver King.
"From Turner's perspective, he's someone who could well be interested in the electronic retailing business. His wife has been selling a ton of stuff through direct marketing," Reily said, referring to Jane Fonda's exercise videos.
Silver King and TBS declined to comment. A spokeswoman for HSN said only, "There's a lot of speculation out there. In this business, it's not unusual for various organizations to be talking to one another."
The stocks of two of the companies involved were noticeably affected by the rumors.
HSN's stock closed at 13 3/4, up 3/4 on New York Stock Exchange; TBS was unchanged at 22 1/4 on the American Stock Exchange and Silver King closed at 10 1/2, up 1 1/2, on NASDAQ.
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