Jeff Sagansky, former president of CBS Entertainment, has resigned as vice chairman and board member of Paxson Communications nearly 3 1/2 years after he took on the launch of a family-friendly television network but failed to position the company’s collection of small-market and UHF stations as a serious challenger to the major networks. In a statement Tuesday from the board of directors, the company said that Mr. Sagansky is “stepping down … to explore various opportunities in the broadcast industry.” A former executive at Viacom and Sony, Mr. Sagansky has been rumored to be a possible candidate for a job at Vivendi Universal, if that company elects to go forward as a stand-alone, or for a job at Sony Pictures Entertainment, from which John Calley recently said he would retire later this year.
EchoStar Bids for Loral
No. 2 satellite operator EchoStar Communications on Tuesday made an informal $1.45 billion offer to acquire the assets of bankrupt satellite maker and operator Loral Space & Communications as the auction for the troubled company heats up. A spokesman said the company hasn’t decided whether to make a formal offer for Loral’s satellite fleet and satellite manufacturing unit. If it proceeds with an offer, it would be the second company to bid on Loral. In July, satellite company Intelsat bid $1 billion for the Loral assets.
Kerkorian Increasing MGM Stake
Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian last week began to increase his stake in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, initiating Thursday his tender offer for up to 15 million shares of MGM at $16 each. The shares will be bought by Mr. Kerkorian personally as well as by his investment vehicle, Tracinda. The tender offer, which is at a 25 percent premium over current levels of around $14.72 a share, could boost Mr. Kerkorian’s stake in the studio to 73 percent from the current level of 67 percent.
Roy Disney Dumps Shares
Walt Disney Co. Vice Chairman Roy Disney late Wednesday dumped 40 percent of his stake in the company, selling around 7.5 million shares to investment bank Credit Suisse First Boston for $163 million. The sale leaves Mr. Disney with about 10 million shares-less stock than Disney Chairman Michael Eisner’s 14 million shares-however, he will retain voting control of the company for five years.