Murdoch: GE in Talks To Sell NBC
Nov. 24, 1999
NEW YORK (AP) _ Media mogul Rupert Murdoch said Tuesday that General Electric Co. has offered to sell NBC television to Time Warner Inc. for $25 billion, but both NBC and Time Warner denied any talks.
In a live interview on Fox News Channel, which is owned by News Corp., commentator Neil Cavuto asked Murdoch if he was interested in buying NBC if General Electric decided to unload some of its broadcast and cable operations in advance of Chairman Jack Welch's departure this April.
Murdoch said yes, but that no offer had been made.
``I understand the business (the NBC division) has been offered to Time Warner for $25 billion and one or two well-known people on the board are very much in favor of buying it and the rest are very much opposed to it. That's something that's going on at the moment.''
NBC and Time Warner tersely denied any discussions.
``It's just not true,'' Time Warner spokesman Ed Adler said late Tuesday.
``We don't usually comment on the musings of other people, but in this case, this is a flat-out denial,'' said NBC spokeswoman Kassie Canter.
NBC television, which includes the NBC broadcast network, the CNBC cable financial channel, a share of MSNBC and other cable properties, has been source of merger speculation for some time, as it is the sole network without a big-league partner in entertainment. ABC was acquired by Disney in February 1996 and CBS announced a merger with Viacom in September.
In July, NBC network programming chief Warren Littlefield said a merger seems inevitable for NBC and that several possibilities were being discussed.
In addition to Time Warner, other potential partners could include USA Networks Inc., Sony, and Liberty Media.