Coke-Outlet Merger Off

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Coca-Cola Co. and group broadcaster Outlet Co. have formally ended merger negotiatons, the companies announced Tuesday.

Coca-Cola, in a statement issued in Atlanta, Ga., said its decision followed an analysis of an audit of Outlet and a review of the firm's business.


Bruce G. Sundlun, Outlet president and chief executive officer, maintained the company emerged 'as an ever stronger major group broadcaster than when the negotiations began.'

Outlet now 'is in the process of diverting itself of all of its retail holdings and has just completed a year in which operating earnings from broadcasting grew 19 percent,' Sundlun said in a statement.

Earlier this year, Outlet's board of directors dissolved a merger agreement with Columbia Pictures Industries. Analysts then said the move was anticipated on Wall Street and could dim Outlet's prospects of a merger with Coke.

In recent years, Outlet has divested itself of its retail stores and has concentrated on its radio and television holdings.

Sundlun said the Providence-based company plans to pursue its 'long-stated objectives of acquiring the legal limit of TV and radio stations and to expand through merger or acquisition into media-related industries.'

Outlet operates TV stations in Providence; San Antonio, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Orlando, Fla.; and Stockton-Sacramento, Calif.


It also owns radio stations in Providence-Taunton, Orlando, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Detroit.

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