Fusient bows out of WCW deal
ATLANTA (AP) -- Fusient Media Ventures has ended its pursuit of Turner Broadcasting System's World Championship Wrestling because of the network's decision to stop airing professional wrestling.
Fusient, a New York-based media investment company, announced its withdrawal in a one-sentence statement Tuesday.
In January, Turner said it was selling WCW, which lost an estimated $80 million last year, to Fusient. That deal fell through when Turner officials decided to pull pro wrestling from TNT and TBS, the two channels that aired it. But the two companies were considering a new deal for WCW's assets, and Turner said it also was in talks with other potential buyers.
Fusient's statement said it decided to withdraw completely because of the lack of a broadcast deal.
Turner's final WCW event will be taped March 26.
Turner's new chief executive, Jamie Kellner, hopes to expand the network's appeal to a more upscale, broader audience and concluded that wrestling did not fit with that image. Kellner got his job when AOL Time Warner merged the WB network, which he helped found, with Turner's cable channels.
Without a broadcast deal, WCW's value consists primarily of its extensive film library of numerous wrestling stars dating back to the 1970s, production equipment, merchandise and some exercise equipment.
Besides Fusient, the companies expressing interest in buying WCW included its main rival, the World Wrestling Federation, based in Stamford, Conn.
"We have opened that door and started holding discussions with AOL Time Warner about the possible purchase of the WCW brand," said WWF spokesman Jayson Bernstein, declining further comment.
Spokesmen for USA Network, which stopped airing WWF wrestling last year, and Fox Sports Networks said they were not interested in buying WCW.