Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Oprah to cash in on TV Channel

The well-known TV host and one of the (if not the richest) woman in the world, Oprah Winfrey, has cashed in after selling a TV channel she co-founded to NBC Universal for about $925 million, (£454 million). Oprah Winfrey is by far the world’s best-paid television entertainer, earning an estimated $295 million in the year to June 2007.

NBC, home to hit shows such as ER and the US version of The Office, is buying Oxygen Media, a cable television channel aimed at women, to increase their foothold in the advertiser-coveted young, upscale, female demographic. NBC is currently lead by chief executive and film director/producer, Jerry Zucker.

“Oxygen Media will perfectly complement our current roster of cable channels and plays to our strength of running and operating cable networks,” said Mr Zucker. Oxygen was set up in 2000 and reaches about 74 million homes. Oprah Winfrey set up the group with Geraldine Laybourne, its present chairman and chief executive, and the television producers Marcy Carsey, Tom Werner and Caryn Mandabach, best know for their work on The Cosby Show. Simon Cowell, a creator and judge of American Idol, the US version of Pop Idol, came third with $51 million, in a poll to establish the highest earning entertainment celebrity. He fell short to Oprah Winfrey in first place and Jerry Seinfeld in second with $69 million. (source: Timesonline)

ABN Amro confirmed that its bid had been supported by 86% of the Dutch bank’s shareholders. Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Santander and Fortis are likely to declare victory in the long-running takeover battle with Barclays today. Shareholders tendered almost 1.6 billion shares under the terms of the €71.1 billion (£49 billion) offer. The consortium is thought to be holding off announcing its win until Fortis has closed its €13 billion rights offer. The group of three has until Friday to declare its offer unconditional.

Shares in Barclays rose in mid-morning trading yesterday, before closing flat at 662p, after analysts gave a positive reaction to it losing the bid battle. Shares in RBS yesterday closed down more than 1.5% at 560½p after analysts emphasised the difficulties the consortium faces in assimilating the pieces of ABN. (source: Timesonline)

A survey found that four in ten would-be entrepreneurs are too scared of failure to do anything about their business idea. This survey for mobile phone and broadband firm Orange, found that nearly half of them had contemplated setting up a venture, but a lack of confidence stopped many from developing their idea, whilst a third of those who wanted to set up a firm worried about the impact of the venture on their love life.

Other concerns among those who had considered starting a business included the fear of becoming more aggressive (33%), of adding pressure to family life (25%) and of getting less sleep (32%).

About 14% of the people questioned claimed they were exploring a definite idea for a business, with another 8% saying they were on the road to making it a reality. While younger people were found to be more optimistic about setting up their own business, they also had a greater fear of failure.

Director of small business at Orange Business Services, Martin Lyne, said the survey showed that British people viewed enterprise in a positive light and were enthusiastic to give it a go. He said that because young people were particularly fearful of entrepreneurial failure that there was "strong case to cultivate an appetite for rational risk in the education system". (source: BBC News)

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