CBS sets King World buy; King brothers to stay on

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Television's top-rated broadcast TV network becomes a giant TV syndicator with CBS Corp.'s proposed $2.5 billion stock acquisition of King World Productions. Electronic Media reported founders Roger King, chairman and chief executive, and Michael King, president, have signed long-term contracts to continue as co-chief executives of King World as an independent entity, although they will answer to CBS President Leslie Moonves. CBS President-CEO Mel Karmazin has promised the Kings autonomy, saying ``They are Switzerland and we [CBS] are the Bank of Switzerland,'' according to EM. Still, analysts estimate about $60 million in cost savings in marketing, research and promotion eventually will be realized between King World and Eyemark, CBS' domestic syndication arm. Mr. Karmazin said he will seek to secure future program commitments from talk show host Oprah Winfrey, who becomes a major CBS shareholder as a result of the merger.

Copyright April 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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