NEW YORK (Reuters) - CBS News said on Tuesday it was not in discussions with CNN over a joint venture, disputing a report in The New York Times.
The Times reported on Tuesday that the unit of CBS Corp had rekindled discussions recently to outsource some of its news-gathering operations to the cable news channel owned by Time Warner Inc.
“We’re extremely satisfied with and proud of our news-gathering operation,” CBS News spokeswoman Sandy Genelius said when asked about the Times report. “No outside arrangements are being negotiated.”
CNN, the first U.S. 24-hour cable news network, has held discussions with CBS News over the past 15 years, said a source familiar with the matter, who was not authorized to talk publicly.
A CNN spokeswoman was not immediately reachable for comment.
CBS Corp has made no secret of its desire to combine with or buy CNN in the past. At the Reuters Media Summit in 2006, former CBS Chief Executive Mel Karmazin, now CEO of Sirius Satellite Radio, said, “I thought CBS News and CNN, to this day, should be combined.”
“I would be candid and say when I was CEO (of CBS), would I have like to have owned CNN? Yeah,” Karmazin said.
Walt Disney Co’s ABC News unit has had opportunities in the past to do deals with CNN, Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger said at a media industry gathering sponsored by Newhouse School on Tuesday.
But, “We were not interested in anything like that,” Iger said in response to a question about outsourcing news gathering. “We were interested in a true joint venture.”
The most recent talks between CBS News and CNN had centered on sharing off-air resources in Baghdad, the source said. But the two sides failed to reach an agreement over issues such as control.
Reporting by Kenneth Li, editing by Mark Porter