QVC parent buying Home Shopping Network in stock deal

Associated Press

New York — QVC and Home Shopping Network, long known as a base for home shopping on TV, are combining further as they look at aggressive growth by Amazon and consumer buying shifting even more to online.

Liberty Interactive Corp., which owns QVC and already owns 38 percent of HSN, will buy the rest of Home Shopping Network for about $2.6 billion in a stock deal.

Both QVC and Home Shopping Network had been dealing with sluggish sales as Amazon dominates online shopping, though both had long moved beyond the cable channels they were famous for and were refashioning themselves for shoppers more used to buying on their mobile phones. One concern has been whether they can draw enough younger shoppers as they enter a higher-spending mode.

Integrating the companies will make them “stronger than they are individually and stronger yet as a standalone entity” in a “changing and difficult market,” said Greg Maffei, Liberty’s president and CEO.

Under former CEO Mindy Grossman, HSN had worked to build its e-commerce presence and transform itself into a lifestyle network. It derives half of its revenue from e-commerce, featuring more than 50,000 products on its website along with broadcasting to more than 90 million households. Grossman departed for Weight Watchers earlier this year.

Executives on Thursday highlighted the potential for cost savings, complementary but not wholly overlapping customers, their strength in video and the larger reach the two will have. The companies also said they hope to use Zulily, which QVC bought in 2015, to drive younger customers to both brands.

The combined company will serve an estimated 23 million customers worldwide and ship more than 320 million packages every year, said Mike George, QVC’s president and CEO. QVC is stronger in fashion and beauty, he said, while crediting HSN in areas like electronics, fitness and health.

He also noted the companies’ social media presence and increasing e-commerce sales, with about $7.5 billion, and $4.7 billion in sales from mobile devices. In terms of video reach, the two will access more than 360 million TV homes globally.

Among retailers who operate in multiple categories, George said, the combined company will be No. 3 in North America in e-commerce, as well as in mobile-commerce in the U.S., and behind only Amazon and Walmart in dollar value of transactions.

The company said the deal will mean between $75 million and $110 million in cost savings over the next three to five years. That’s in line with an analysis from Citi, which has suggested cost savings of up to $100 million a year. In the near term, though, it expects the cost-savings to be small.

Liberty, based in Englewood, Colorado, will issue 53.4 million shares of QVC Series A common stock to HSN shareholders. It said Thursday that’s the equivalent of paying $40.36 per share for HSN Inc. of St. Petersburg, Florida. Shares of HSN surged $8.62, or 27 percent, to $39.92 in midday trading.

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.