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Company Town

<i> Times Staff and Wire Reports</i>

Television: In a candid chat with reporters covering the Goodwill Games in St. Petersburg, Russia, cable mogul Ted Turner said Monday what everyone already knew anyway: that he would like to buy one of the big three networks. “One of these days, I plan to have one of the big networks,” said Turner, who once made an unsuccessful run at CBS. “I may never get there, but I’ve been thinking about it for a long time.” Asked whether he is talking to CBS in the wake of the network’s collapsed merger plans with QVC Inc., Turner said that “there’s nothing at the present moment.” But he said he is in contact with CBS, NBC and ABC, adding that “basically all three of them are available for the right deal.” Turner said there would be synergy in combining his operation with that of a major network. As an example, he said, combining CNN’s news operations with those of a major network could result in a savings of between $50 million and $100 million a year.

Interactive: In what amounts to a shuffling of assets, Spelling Entertainment Group said it has completed the acquisition of a 90% stake in Virgin Interactive Entertainment from Blockbuster Entertainment Corp. Spelling, which is controlled by video rental giant Blockbuster, in turn issued about 22 million common shares valued at $8.95 apiece, or $197 million. The new Spelling shares increase Blockbuster’s share of Spelling to 78% from 70%. Spelling expects Virgin Interactive, which develops, publishes and distributes interactive entertainment software, to bring in an additional $200 million a year of revenue for the company. Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based Blockbuster recently purchased the stake in Virgin Interactive from Richard Branson Family Trusts and toy maker Hasbro.


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