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Par shareholders await Diller move

The 11th hour is approaching but the wait goes on for professional traders still holding Paramount shares in the hope that QVC Network will make them an offer they can’t refuse.

Sources familiar with the situation say only that QVC chief Barry Diller continues to study his options.

Both QVC’s and Viacom’s tender expire Monday, but Paramount will consider any bids made by Feb. 1.

While the market agrees that any new QVC offer will include more cash in the front end, many have speculated that it also will feature a “collar” guaranteeing the value of the back-end securities, as Viacom’s latest effort did.

But some on Wall Street apparently told Diller late last week that debt or other fixed-income instruments are preferable to the so-called “contingent value rights.”

“Those tend to trade for less than they are worth,” said one. “The point was that every dollar Diller was paying should be a dollar the (current) owners thought they were getting.”

As of Tuesday’s close, QVC’s bid of $ 92 per share for 50.1% of Par’s outstanding common stock plus a package of securities for the balance was valued at $ 85.80 and QVC stock itself rose $ 1.25 to $ 44.25. Viacom’s offer of $ 107 per share for 50.1% of Par stock plus a guaranteed package of securities for the remainder was valued at $ 79.41 per share and Viacom Class B shares dropped $ 1 to $ 35 per share. Par shares slipped 25 cents per share to $ 79.38 per share.

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