It turns out Seagram isn’t the only Montreal-based conglomerate with an interest in Time Warner. Power Corp., which has holdings in financial services, newspapers and broadcasting, bought 3 million Time Warner shares earlier this year for $ 100 million, giving Power Corp. a 1% stake in the giant New York communications company.
The Power buy was only revealed when Seagram made public its purchase of $ 702 million worth of Time Warner shares and had to disclose the Power purchase because the two companies share directors. Powertopper Paul Desmarais is a Seagram director and Seagram’s Charles Bronfman is on the Power board.
A Power spokesman confirmed the acquisition of Time Warner shares, but refused to comment on Power’s intentions. The company has $ C2.5 billion ($ 1.95 billion) in cash reserves, putting it in a strong position to pick up more Time Warner shares.
The Power spokesman also wouldn’t say whether the Power and Seagram purchases were coordinated. Desmarais has admitted that Power and Seagram talked last year about making a joint investment in Time Warner, but he says nothing came of the talks.
Power subsidiary Power Broadcasting recently announced that it has entered into a partnership with CBC to supply two channels to DirecTV, which is set to launch a direct broadcast satellite service next year.
Power’s communications and media holdings include Montreal French-lingo daily newspaper La Presse, and Power Broadcasting owns and operates 17 radio stations and three TV stations in Ontario and Quebec. In Europe, Power has a controlling interest with Belgian partner the Frere Group in cable giant CLT, which has radio, television and cable assets in Luxembourg, France, Belgium and Germany.