Allen's Vulcan Ventures Acquires Stake in ZDTV for $204.8m

Sally Khudairi (
Sat, 20 Nov 1999 00:44:17 -0500

Softbank doesn't need the money. What's going on here?


Computergram International: Section: 01. Top Stories

Allen's Vulcan Ventures Acquires Stake in ZDTV for $204.8m

Ziff-Davis Inc has signed a definitive agreement to sell its remaining 64%
interest in ZDTV to Vulcan Ventures Inc, Paul Allen's investment company,
for $204.8m. Vulcan bought its first 33% of the cable network nine months
ago, so the new deal brings the company's holding to 97%, while valuing ZDTV
at $320m. The network boasts access to 14 million homes in the USA, a figure
that is expected to reach 16 million by the end of the year. ZDTV is offered
through 88 cable operators and 400 cable systems, as well as through the
satellite companies DirecTV and Echo Star.

Even if the transaction is approved, the network will retain access to a
news organization it runs jointly with ZDNet and ZD Publishing. In fact, the
deal recalls nothing so much as the sale of Wired magazine to Conde Nast
Inc, a transaction which effectively cut the heart out of Wired Ventures as
a new media empire. In a similar way, Ziff-Davis parent company Softbank Inc
is divesting itself of the media and publishing company's unprofitable,
non-internet-related businesses. Earlier this week, ZD Education was sold to
Wasserstein Perella for $172m, while Harte-Hanks Inc paid $106m for ZD
Market Intelligence in August 1999.