CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves talked about whether his company would be interested in buying CNN if it becomes available, indicating the idea has come up before and, yes, he's interested, Bloomberg reports.
Moonves, who made his comments Thursday at a Television Critics Association event, said he has discussed “doing something with CNN” in the past. The issue, though, would be whether he would — or could — get involved in Rupert Murdoch’s bid for Time Warner, the owner of CNN, the story notes.
21st Century Fox recently made an unsolicited $75 billion bid for Time Warner, which has rejected the offer. Some analysts have hinted that Time Warner might team up with another media company, such as CBS, to deflect the Fox offer, the piece notes. But Moonves suggested he wouldn’t consider working with Time Warner on a big transaction.
“Nobody ever competes well against Rupert,” Moonves said.
However, Murdoch is likely to be open to selling CNN as part of a deal to buy Time Warner, the article notes.
Bloomberg reports: "Murdoch, who is known for his tenacity in pursuing deals, would sell CNN to avoid a challenge from antitrust regulators if he can persuade New York-based Time Warner to accept a takeover offer, a person with knowledge of the situation said this week. Fox calculates that CNN could fetch as much as $8 billion should it be sold, the person said."
The report notes that CBS has had an infusion of cash after recently spinning off its billboard unit. Moonves acknowledged the company's strong cash situation, saying: “We’re in a very advantageous position — our balance sheet is very good.”
He added that CBS would rather "be nimble" than succumb to consolidation trends in an attempt to compete with "monoliths," the report adds.