Wednesday's announcement calling off Bell Atlantic Corp.'s planned merger with Tele-Communications Inc. is another pothole on the way to the information superhighway, although whether it poses a major obstacle is unclear. Other recent developments of importance:
CABLE REGULATION Feb. 22, 1994: Federal regulators vote unanimously to order a new round of cable television rate cuts. The new rules impose an overall 17% reduction--an additional 7% on top of last year's 10% cut--on cable operators. Bell Atlantic and TCI say the action doomed their deal, though others are skeptical.
PARAMOUNT-VIACOM MERGER Sept. 20, 1993: QVC's Barry Diller launches a hostile $9.5 billion offer for Paramount with backing from Liberty Media Corp. and its much larger affiliate, TCI.
Feb. 14, 1994: Viacom Inc. defeats QVC Network Inc. in the five-month battle to acquire Paramount Communications.
INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY December, 1993: The Clinton Administration introduces the National Information Infrastructure Initiative, designed to link TV's, telephones and computers with high speed lines to facilitate the rapid exchange of pictures, sounds and words. Jan. 11, 1994: Vice President Al Gore holds an information superhighway summit at UCLA with more than 2,000 communication industry executives in attendance, including TCI's John C. Malone and Bell Atlantic's Ray Smith, to discuss the multi-channel multimedia future. At the meeting, Gore said the Clinton Administration is willing to consider breaking down regulatory barriers to permit telephone and cable TV companies to compete in offering a broad array of interactive services.
CABLE AND PHONE DEALS May 17, 1993: U.S. West purchases a 25% ownership stake in Time Warner's entertainment and cable group for about $2.5 billion. Oct. 4, 1993: Nynex agrees to invest $1.2 billion in Viacom's bid for Paramount. Oct. 12, 1993: Bell Atlantic Corp. announce plans to acquire cable giant Tele-Communications Inc. in a deal valued at $33 billion. Dec. 7, 1993: Cox Cable and Southwestern Bell announce a $4.9 billion joint venture to offer a wide range of video and other interactive services to the venture's own cable and phone customers.
The Companies at a Glance
TCI is the country's biggest cable television provider, with about 20% of the market.
* Headquarters: Englewood, Co. * Chief executive: John C. Malone * Employees: 22,000 * 1992 revenue: $3.6 billion * 1992 loss: $34 million * Wednesday stock close: $28.75, down 75 cents
One of the most aggressive of the Baby Bells, it services six Mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia.
* Headquarters: Philadelphia * Chief executive: Raymond W. Smith * Employees: 71,400 * 1993 revenue: $13.0 billion * 1993 profit: $1.4 billion * Wednesday stock close: $52.75, down 50 cents
Sources: Company reports; Paul Kagan Associates Inc.; wire reports