TiVo’s stock went up 70% yesterday on the news that it had signed a deal with Comcast. But is it really a good deal for TiVo? This revealing paragraph was in The New York Times this morning:
The Comcast deal, completed late Monday, was spearheaded by Tom Rogers, a former executive of NBC Cable, who is now vice chairman of TiVo’s board. In an interview yesterday, Mr. Rogers said that the economics of the current deal were better for TiVo than the one it had walked away from last year.
“Each side gained a greater appreciation of how working together would be a benefit,” he said.
TiVo fans and stockholders might want to look carefully at Tom Rogers’ track record on earlier deals. It’s not a pretty sight.
NBC Tuesday agreed to invest another $25 million in online community Xoom.com Inc. and plans to speed its $30 million investment into the pending NBC Internet venture, known as NBCi.
NBC’s shares were purchased at an average price of $57.30 a share, well above Monday’s closing price of 43-5/8.
“NBC’s $55 million investment demonstrates our increased commitment to Xoom.com and NBCi. The deal restructuring enables us to have an increased long-term equity position in NBCi,” said Tom Rogers, NBC executive vice president and president of NBC Cable.
The deal comes on the heels of last month’s merger between Xoom, NBC and Snap.com!, co-owned by NBC and CNET, to create NBC Internet, or NBCi. Announced in mid-May, NBCi will reportedly be the seventh-largest Internet site and will be the first publicly-traded Internet company aligned with a major broadcaster. Snap! will be the venture’s umbrella consumer brand.
PRIMEDIA NAMES TOM ROGERS CHAIRMAN AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Top NBC Executive Tapped to Bring New Media Focus to Strong Portfolio of Print and Video Businesses
New York, September 27, 1999 — Tom Rogers, President of NBC Cable and Executive Vice President, NBC, has been appointed Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PRIMEDIA, Inc. (NYSE:PRM), a diversified media and information company, the Company’s Board of Directors announced today.
NBC Internet–the Net spinoff of NBC … has warned it would not hit its estimated numbers for the quarter. In a conference call yesterday, the CEO of NBCi, Will Lansing, blamed the short-term trouble on two acquisitions and (in comments that have drawn more attention) on the “soft dot-com ad market.” Apparently something like 90 percent of NBCi’s advertising is currently from online companies, who, as we as all know, are beginning to drop like flies….
When NBCi was launched last year, it described itself as “a branded global integrated media company … [that] integrates major media platforms, including Internet, broadcast and cable television and radio, to deliver powerful ways for partners to connect with users and customers.” It melded together a portal-type site called Snap.com, a retailer called Xoom.com, and the Internet assets of NBC (minus, significantly, CNBC and MSNBC), and its “flagship site” was Snap.com. Part of this week’s announcement is that the once-touted Snap name is being done away with, because it’s “far from a well-known brand,” as Lansing put it in the conference call.
After being converted in the merger from shares of Xoom.com last November, shares of NBCi have gone downhill since hitting a high of about $106 earlier this year. They currently trade at around $5 each. But while stock prices can, perhaps, be attributed to the vagaries of a fickle market, the number of unique visitors to NBCi’s sites has also declined along with the number of pages viewed. That is a market reaction of a different sort.
With things looking down by almost any measure, clearly something isn’t working at NBCi. The company abandoned a multi-brand approach by dissolving Xoom and Snap into the single NBCi brand and relaunching an integrated site about one month ago. It also laid off about 20% of its employees in a cost-cutting move.
In the latest marriage of old and new media, magazine publisher Primedia said Monday that it will acquire Web directory About.com for $690 million in stock.
With the agreement, About.com shareholders will receive 45.2 million shares of Primedia, or 2.34 Primedia shares for each About.com share. The valuation of the deal was based on Primedia’s Oct. 27 closing share price of $15.25 and About.com’s closing price of $23.88.
Since 1999, Tom Rogers has been [Primedia’s] CEO. During his tenure, Primedia stock has gone from $34 to 76 cents. You can pick up a share today for under $3.00.
[A]dd the name of Primedia’s Tom Rogers to that list of major media company chiefs who attempted to integrate traditional and new media but have since resigned their positions somewhat less than voluntarily. Rogers attempted to build Primedia, a collection of business and consumer magazines, into an integrated media company through the acquisition of many Internet ventures, including the $690 million purchase of About.com. The acquisitions saddled Primedia with more than $2 billion in debt and were met with skepticism on Wall Street and red ink on Primedia’s bottom line.
The big plan was to leverage the offline (trade magazines) and online properties (About.com’s guide sites) to deliver targeted marketing opportunities and cross-media marketing outlets for advertisers. It gave Rogers a legitimate Internet property to jumpstart the goal of integrating old-line media with the Web, much like promise from the AOL/Time Warner mega deal.
But, it never quite worked, and Primedia spent the last two years trying to rejigger the business to cope with the decline in online ad spending.
During his four-year-term at the helm of the New York-based company, Primedia also shuttered its venture capital unit, which was set up to invest in consumer-facing Web content and commerce companies, as well as business-to-business Web-based software and services. Rogers also maneuvered a complicated deal to acquire Brill Media and followed up with the purchase of Web publisher Inside.com.
But those big bets that Internet content could be meshed with offline titles to appeal to advertisers never quite panned out and the continued decline in the online advertising market forced Primedia to implement salary freezes and restructure many of those arrangements.
Primedia, the publishing company owned by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company, has put the Web site About.com on the block… About.com, bought by Primedia in October 2000 for $690 million in stock, was envisioned as a primary link among the company’s many print publications, Web sites, newsletters and video programs. It offers a network of about 475 Web sites on a range of topics.
The acquisition of About.com was the vision of Thomas S. Rogers, the former chief executive of Primedia, who has since resigned.
The New York Times Company announced this afternoon that it had agreed to acquire the online consumer information provider About.com from Primedia Inc., a magazine publisher, for $410 million in cash.
That’s a dismal track record, and it’s hard to see why anyone would keep hiring Rogers. Let’s revisit this list next year and see how well the TiVo-Comcast deal goes.