Sean Combs Bids $200 Million for Fuse So He Can Turn it Into Revolt

But He's Not the Only Bidder for Network

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Sean Combs, the hip-hop mogul now known as Diddy, has bid about $200 million for the Fuse cable-TV channel, said three people with knowledge of the situation.

Mr. Combs rose to fame as rapper Puff Daddy and has since founded fashion, liquor and media businesses, including the cable-music channel Revolt TV. He would convert Fuse, owned by New York-based Madison Square Garden Co., into Revolt TV, which has backing from Comcast Corp., said the people, who requested anonymity because the talks are private. Mr. Combs is one of several Fuse bidders, one of the people said.

With the purchase, Revolt TV would gain wider distribution and higher subscriber fees, one person said. Fuse is available in about 74 million homes through pay-TV systems including DirecTV, Dish Network and Cablevision Systems, compared with Revolt TV, which reaches about 22.8 million homes and is carried by Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

"As we have stated, we are exploring strategic alternatives for Fuse, and will have no further comment during what is still an ongoing process," Kimberly Kerns, a spokeswoman for MSG, said today in an e-mail.

Keesha Johnson, a press contact for Mr. Combs, declined to comment.

MSG hired JPMorgan Chase & Co. to explore a sale of Fuse last fall. That decision was made after various parties expressed strategic interest in the TV network, Hank Ratner, the former chief executive officer, said on an earnings call in November. Tad Smith replaced Mr. Ratner as president and CEO last month.

Michael Senno, an analyst at Credit Suisse, estimated in a Sept. 12 report that Fuse would recieve bids between $200 million and $250 million.

~ Bloomberg News ~

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