It looked so good in the heat of the Paramount battle. But now, BellSouth may back off its option to buy 12% of QVC for $500 million. No surprise, really: QVC shares are trading at $45; BellSouth's option valued them at $60. But the companies still may be talking. With the right acquisition, QVC could provide the cable-television programming that BellSouth would distribute. What's more, QVC Chairman Barry Diller and BellSouth Chairman John Clendenin have a rapport that is expected to fuel future ventures.

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