Skip to Content

CBS’ Moonves might be interested in CNN if it’s for sale

Leslie Moonves, CEO of CBS
Leslie Moonves, CEO of CBS
Leslie Moonves, CEO of CBS Steve Granitz—WireImage

Les Moonves, CEO of CBS, reportedly some expressed interest in buying CNN if the cable news network becomes available in the event that Rupert Murdoch acquires CNN parent company Time Warner.

Speaking to reporters at a Television Critics Association event late Thursday, Moonves played it coy at one point when asked if CBS could be a landing spot for CNN, replying “Maybe. Maybe.”

Several news outlets reported that Moonves has previoulsy discussed the idea of bringing the channel into the CBS fold, but he noted that CBS (CBS) is not large enough be a realistic suitor for all of Time Warner (TWX). CBS’ market cap is roughly $35 billion, while Murdoch recently revealed that his Twenty-First Century Fox was rebuffed when it offered $80 billion to buy out CNN’s parent.

Meanwhile, as Wall Street speculates about whether Murdoch will be able to rope in Time Warner, the general assumption is that the billionaire would likely have to jettison CNN as part of any merger in order to avoid a conflict with the cable news network he already owns, Fox News. Should that happen, CNN would need to find a new home and, at least off the cuff, Moonves suggested that CBS would be a willing deal partner.

One thing Moonves is not eager to do, however, is to stand in the way of Murdoch’s acquisition hopes. “Nobody ever competes well against Rupert,” the CBS CEO quipped Thursday, according to Bloomberg.

CBS declined a request by Fortune to comment beyond Moonves’ remarks.

(This story was updated with additional reporting)