In Business This Week: HEADLINER: RONALD PERELMAN
SORRY, RON. THANKS FOR PLAYING
Billionaire investor Ronald Perelman tried for weeks to buy King World, distributor of such hit TV shows as Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. The move was meant to provide critical programming for his New World Communications, which had produced a string of clunker TV shows, had run up nearly $1 billion in debt, and was gushing red ink.
But then, at Allen & Co.'s annual mid-July media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, lightning struck. News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, possibly spurred by Perelman's overture to King World, reopened talks to buy New World. Previous negotiations had stalled in March. Murdoch, who will pay an estimated $2.48 billion for the 80% of New World he doesn't already own, covets New World's Fox affiliates and the 40% of the country they cover.
Perelman, meanwhile, gets out from under New World and its problems. That leaves him free to pursue a bid for part of the huge Atlantic City gambling market. Seems you can win by losing after all.EDITED BY KELLEY HOLLANDReturn to top
IN HIS VEGAS GAMBLING DAYS, billionaire Kirk Kerkorian limited himself to three bets per sitting. Three seems to be his magic number again: For the third time since 1970, he is taking control of the famed if faded Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio. By backing Chairman Frank Mancuso's $1.3 billion bid to buy MGM from French bank Credit Lyonnais, Kerkorian is gambling Mancuso can continue the studio's comeback so it can go public eventually. For now, Mancuso has MGM on a roll with such hits as Get ShortyandThe Birdcage. How long will Kerkorian, who provided an estimated $700 million of Mancuso's funds, stick around? In his previous tours, the reclusive billionaire sold the studio twice. His overall take from the two deals was more than $1.5 billion.EDITED BY KELLEY HOLLANDReturn to top
JUDGMENT DAY IS COMING TO ADM
A YEAR AFTER THE GOVERNment made public its probe into alleged price-fixing by Archer Daniels Midland, the investigation is about to yield a series of indictments. ADM Vice-Chairman Michael Andreas and Group Vice-President Terrance Wilson have been notified that criminal indictments will be filed against them in September, and the company expects its own set of charges soon, according to sources close to the case. Sources say a special ADM board committee wants to negotiate a settlement. But a plea would effectively jettison two of the company's most senior managers.EDITED BY KELLEY HOLLANDReturn to top
SANCTIONS: THERE'S ALWAYS MANANA
CUBA AND ITS U.S. TRADING partners got a reprieve from a measure enacted to pressure Fidel Castro's regime. The sanctions call for lawsuits against foreign companies and individuals who use American-owned property confiscated by Cuba's government. But on July 16, President Clinton delayed the date for filing the suits from Nov. 1 to Feb. 1. Republicans such as Senator Jesse Helms (N.C.) are angry. But Clinton mollified Cuban-American groups by saying that anyone who uses expropriated property after Nov. 1 would be liable if suits are finally allowed.EDITED BY KELLEY HOLLANDReturn to top