TW/NBC Uni? Hint-hint
EmptyTime Warner will shed Time Warner Cable and, in doing so, will raise a bunch of cash. Then, CEO Jeff Bewkes foreshadowed big changes on the content side of the business.
All this, naturally, had media experts reviving some old rumors that TW might want to purchase NBC Universal.
Such speculation might be easier to dismiss if one of its sources wasn't a journalist employed by NBC Universal itself.
"I'm hearing that Time Warner is considered the front-runner to merge with NBC Universal," CNBC media and entertainment reporter Julia Boorstin wrote this week.
"NBC Universal doesn't have a publishing division. Time Warner doesn't have a broadcast network," she continued. "It's still a ways off, but mark my words, execs at both companies are thinking about it."
Others have noted that a TW merger with NBC Uni would be an easy sell with government regulators now that Time Warner Cable is no longer in the mix. And it would be an even easier sell if they can hammer out a deal under the business-friendly Bush administration.
NBC Uni and TW won't comment on the rumors, but that hasn't stopped Wall Street from opining on the possibilities.
Heck, even Robert Wright said that NBC Uni and TW "would be a great combination," and that was last year when he was still running NBC.
In that same interview with Fortune magazine, which is owned by Time Warner, Wright said he "wouldn't be surprised" if GE were to sell NBC Uni in the next three to five years.
That's when GE CEO Jeff Immelt said that any speculation about GE's desire to sell NBC Uni was "stupid drivel."
If that's still the case, maybe he should tell it to his CNBC reporters. (Paul Bond)