1999 Fools: Ebay to buy Antiques Roadshow from WGBH
From: sabramson@my-deja.com
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Subject: Ebay to buy Antiques Roadshow from WGBH
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1999 16:24:34 GMT
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BOSTON (REUTERS)--July 30, 1999--In a surprise move today, eBay
(NASDAQ: EBAY) announced that it will buy Antiques Roadshow from the
WGBH Educational Foundation of Boston for $175 million.
    Antiques Roadshow, a popular program syndicated nationwide on the
Public Broadcasting Service, presents live appraisals of show
participants' antiques.  The deal closely follows eBay's recent
acquisition of the prestigious Butterfield & Butterfield auction
house, and rival Amazon.com's recent partnership with Sotheby's
Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: BID), in a trend analysts call consolidation in
the auction industry.
    Steve Westly, eBay's vice president of marketing and business
development, said "We see this as an extremely strategic acquisition.
eBay is uniquely positioned to leverage the Antiques Roadshow brand
and viewer goodwill.  This offering will clearly enhance the eBay
user's experience."
    Henry P. Becton, Jr., president of WGBH, said "This sale in itself
represents an amount nearly twenty million dollars greater than our
fiscal year 1998 revenues.  With this deal, we have met our
fundraising goals through the end of 2000."
    Industry experts are uncertain whether the purchase will raise
Justice Department concerns.  Rodney Simms, an online commerce analyst
with Forrester Research, said "This deal, combined with the recent
Butterfield purchase, may be aggressive enough for Justice to take
notice.  eBay is positioned to become the sole source for tchotchkes,
kitsch, ephemera, art glass, and knick-knacks in this country."
    Other concerns have been raised as well.  Antiques Roadshow has
long been controversial with moral activists for its resemblance to
pornography.  Reverend Donald Wildmon, of the American Family
Association, said "It's all there--the foreplay, the lingering
closeups, and of course the 'money shot' when the appraised price is
revealed.  Roadshow elicits the same lustful desires in its viewers as
hard core pornography.  It objectifies objects."  Aida Moreno,
executive producer of Antiques Roadshow, called Wildmon's allegations
nonsense, saying "This is public broadcasting, for goodness sake.  We
broadcast only wholesome family educational and entertainment
    While Antiques Roadshow will no longer be broadcast on WGBH or its
PBS affiliates, the program will be available as a RealVideo stream at
eBay's web site, www.ebay.com.

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