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Company Town

In the Wake of the Deal

October 21, 1997|MARLA MATZER

The HSN-Universal Studios transaction announced by Barry Diller and Edgar Bronfman Jr. involves several other major industry figures.

John Malone, 56, chairman of Tele-Communications Inc.

Liberty Media, TCI's wholly owned programming arm, is one of the Home Shopping Network's largest shareholders.

Liberty would own 15% of the newly formed operation and would have the option to increase that stake to 25%.

Malone heads Colorado-based TCI, the United States' largest cable television operator.

He and Diller are close, and Malone has backed Diller for several years in his quest to build HSN. Diller currently votes Liberty's shares in HSN.

Fred Rosen, 53, chairman of Ticketmaster

The chief executive of the Los Angeles-based company, the nation's largest ticket operation, stands to profit handsomely from the HSN-Universal deal. In May, HSN acquired a 47.5% interest in Ticketmaster from Paul Allen; Allen received HSN shares in return. Now HSN is said to be ready to buy the rest of Ticketmaster. The company has experienced explosive growth, and it has a current market capitalization of nearly $600 million.

Rosen's personal stake in Ticketmaster is worth more than $35 million. According to a source, he has resigned his seat on HSN's board to avoid a possible conflict of interest while HSN ponders the acquisition.

Paul Allen, 44, Microsoft co-founder and investor

Allen, worth $17 billion, is the third-richest man in America, according to Forbes magazine. Unlike former partner Bill Gates and fellow computer billionaire Larry Ellison of Oracle, Allen shuns the spotlight. He lives on Mercer Island, near Seattle.

Allen has used his enormous wealth from Microsoft (he still owns about 8% of the company, though he left it in 1983) to invest in a number of media and entertainment ventures.

In addition to his 4% stake in HSN, Allen has a $500-million investment in DreamWorks SKG. DreamWorks is already in business with Universal and occupies office space in Universal City.

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