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Wright time for more deals?
Report: NBC chief Wright says network is 'always in a shopping mode,' but Lion's Gate too pricey.
May 16, 2005: 10:04 AM EDT
NBC chairman and chief executive Bob Wright says the network is prowling for its next acquisition.
NBC chairman and chief executive Bob Wright says the network is prowling for its next acquisition.

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - A year after acquiring Universal Studios, NBC Universal chief Bob Wright says he's not done shopping yet, a newspaper report said Monday.

"We're always in a shopping mode," Wright told New York's Daily News in an interview last week.

The Universal deal transformed GE (up $0.20 to $35.90, Research)-owned NBC from a company dependent almost entirely on advertising to a diversified entertainment giant with an overseas business that Wright is looking to expand, the newspaper said.

Wright told the newspaper he's pleased with the progress NBC has made integrating Universal's film, cable and theme park operations in an interview that took place days before Monday's "upfront" meeting with advertising executives -- when the network will strut its fall TV lineup and sell the bulk of its advertising for the coming season.

The report said things would look much worse for NBC -- which expects as much as $550 million in advertising revenue to disappear this year -- if Wright had not acquired Universal.

The film studio's solid box office performance with hits like "Meet the Fockers" and strong DVD sales are helping shore up the media empire at time when NBC's prime-time programming is faltering, the Daily News said.

When asked about possibly purchasing independent film studio Lion's Gate Entertainment (up $0.14 to $9.47, Research), Wright said, "Yes, but it's pricey. The stock is very high and they keep buying things."

NBC Universal expects profits to rise 25 percent this year on sales growth of 10 to 15 percent, the report said.

But the newspaper added that NBC has its work cut out for it, with key brands under fire, including the "Today" show, where rival "Good Morning America" is narrowing a once-wide ratings gap.

Networks gear up for their "upfront" meetings. Click here for more.  Top of page

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