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Media Moguls Speak Their Acquisition Fantasies Out Loud

Google Mentions Grocery Stores; Comcast Jokes About Disney

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AdAge.com) -- Can you imagine a supermarket chain owned by Google? Neither can we, but that's what topped Google VP-Advertising Sales Tim Armstrong's acquisition wish list.
Comcast Chief Operating Officer Stephen Burke joked about the Walt Disney Co.

It's probably just a typically cagey Googlean answer to a straight question, but it was also the most provocative response from a panel of media company executives asked what they'd like to see their companies buy.

Comcast wants Disney
Several, intriguingly, joked about Walt Disney Co. properties. Comcast Chief Ooperating Officer Stephen Burke: "Well, we tried to buy Disney ..." before adding, "We'd like to get more content."

Hearst Magazines president Cathleen Black quipped at first: "We own 20% of ESPN. I'd like to see us buy the other 80%." But she'd really like to be able to be a full partner in Hearst's publications in China, which currently restricts any foreign ownership to a minority position.

Michael Kelly, president of AOL Media Networks, was quick to say, "Well, when you're stock is at $17.37, people keep telling us what we should sell, not what we should buy." Then, in reference to a recent flare-up within Time Warner's board, he added: "I thought an Icahn was one of those little things on a screen." But he was also thinking globally: "I regret we didn't get more international more quickly."

Mike Shaw, ABC Television president-sales and marketing, said, "A search engine would be great." Then he ruefully added, "We had one for a while with Go.com, but we didn't stick with that."

And in case you're wondering why Mr. Armstrong wants to buy either a grocery store or a car dealership: "Just to see how they work."

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