10.09.07, 12:27 PM #1
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Oprah's Oxygen Network sells for $925M !!
LOS ANGELES - NBC Universal said Tuesday it will buy Oxygen Media, a cable TV network featuring programming for women, for about $925 million in a move to attract more advertisers targeting female viewers.
The acquisition is in line with previous deals by NBC Universal to build female audiences. Last year, it bought the iVillage group of women-oriented Internet sites for $600 million.
The acquisition of Oxygen "increases our foothold in the advertiser-coveted young, upscale, female demographic," NBC Universal President and Chief Executive Jeff Zucker said in a statement.
Oxygen was founded in 2000 by current Chairman and CEO Geraldine Laybourne, Oprah Winfrey and television producers Marcy Carsey, Tom Werner and Caryn Mandabach.
It broadcasts syndicated sitcoms such as "Mad About You" and "Roseanne," as well as reality shows and movies geared to women.
It's now available in about 74 million homes and drew a record number of viewers in its most recent quarter, NBC Universal said.
Oxygen will be folded into NBC Universal's entertainment cable division, which includes USA Network, Bravo, SciFi, CNBC and MSNBC.
Excluding financial assets, the deal is worth about $875 million, NBC Universal said.
The company expects the acquisition to add to earnings after the first full year and produce savings of about $35 million next year. It estimates the deal will cost roughly less than $12 per subscriber.
NBC Universal plans to put resources into making Oxygen more widely known, including cross-promoting the network on iVillage and other NBC Universal properties, Zucker said during a conference call.
"We've learned that the ability to cross-promote and to use each of those properties together will make us very strong," he said. "We will look to create a virtual women's network so that when we go to market we're selling young women, and affluent women in a way that virtually no one else can."
NBC Universal plans to fund the transaction through the sale of noncore assets, including two independent Telemundo television stations — KWHY in Los Angeles and WKAQ in Puerto Rico.
Zucker said the company did not yet have a buyer for the stations.
He stressed that the sale should not be seen as a move by NBC Universal to pull back from its investment in Spanish-language media or its Telemundo TV network.
"We are as committed as we have been," Zucker said, noting the company has been adding Spanish-language TV stations during the past 15 months.
Under media ownership rules, NBC Universal was required to divest itself from the Los Angeles station, one of three NBC Universal-operated TV stations in the Los Angeles market.
Laybourne declined to say how much the original Oxygen investors stood to profit from the deal announced Tuesday.
The independent network has managed to become available in a large number of homes but needs to increase exposure even more, she said.
"What is apparent now is that we need cross-promotion and that really is the biggest issue for Oxygen," Laybourne said.
Laybourne agreed to stay on with Oxygen until the end of the year. She did not disclose what she plans to do afterward.
The acquisition was expected to close in November, subject to customary regulatory approvals.
NBC Universal is 80 percent owned by General Electric Co."Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton
10.10.07, 02:35 PM #2
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Just what Oprah needs, more money.
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