Originally created 03/12/98

Diller to buy remaining stock in Ticketmaster for $400 million



LOS ANGELES -- Barry Diller has proposed a $400 million stock swap between his USA Networks Inc. and Ticketmaster Group Inc. to complete his purchase of the national ticket outlet company.

Ticketmaster's board has accepted the offer but shareholders of USA Networks still must approve it, the St. Petersburg, Fla.-based media and electronic commerce company said Tuesday.

Diller's offer of $340 million for Ticketmaster in October was rejected.

Diller, whose Home Shopping Network Inc. became USA Networks after acquiring the assets from Seagrams Co., purchased 50.1 percent of Ticketmaster's shares last May. He said he planned to buy the rest.

Ticketmaster, based in Los Angeles, has 3,000 outlets nationwide and sells tickets over the phone and through the Internet.

The deal indicates that Diller plans to expand into home shopping by phone and through the Internet and television, analysts said.

"This is blue-sky stuff and a preemptive strike to be first by Diller," said Art Rockwell of Rockwell Capital in Los Angeles. "Like a lot of these technology-driven ideas in Hollywood, the hype comes first and the reality comes years down the road."

Fredric Rosen, chief executive of Ticketmaster, was expected to leave before his contract expires at the end of the year. Rosen said he was satisfied with the latest offer, calling it an offer that reflects the "fair value" of the company.