If you're selling your multi-million dollar cable network
November 30, 2001 11:40 AM   Subscribe

If you're selling your multi-million dollar cable network be sure to heed Ted Turner: "My advice to younger people in the room is be real careful who you sell your company to." With regards to being fired by Gerald Levin: "Turner recalled that Levin said 'Ted, you’re my best friend. I said, ‘I’m your best friend? Jerry, I’ve never been in your home. If I’m your best friend, who’s your second best friend?’ "
posted by CosmicSlop (9 comments total)
I really find myself having a hard time feeling sorry for Ted Turner. The man has lost more money into the cracks of his sofa that I will see in a lifetime.

Ahh... I'm just bitter.
posted by heybate at 11:47 AM on November 30, 2001

He's also given away more money than you will see in your lifetime.
posted by terrapin at 12:39 PM on November 30, 2001

It's funny, but the exact same thing happened to me... I sold my multi-billion dollar company and then was fired shortly afterwards. Now I have nothing to do but laugh my way to the bank and spend money on lavish trinkets I'll never use. Oh well.
posted by Neale at 12:41 PM on November 30, 2001

Terrapin - good point
posted by heybate at 1:11 PM on November 30, 2001

The way I see it, shit happens. That's how the corporate world works, and the way I see it, Ted was naive enough to think he was beyond that sort of thing.
posted by trioperative at 1:12 PM on November 30, 2001

Ted's a hateful, bitter, grumpy old man. His life is rough, I weep for him. Ahem. Are we really supposed to believe that he expected to be kept on out of goodwill? T-W determined that he had nothing left to offer, and he was gone. That's what happens when you play billion dollar business politics. I don't know what's worse -- believing that he didn't know that, or him not knowing it, if he didn't.
posted by Dreama at 1:48 PM on November 30, 2001

Before everyone starts bashing Ted, let's not forget that he built his empire off of one crappy station in Atlanta, that his personality is something sorely lacking in corporate America - can you imagine Case, Levin or Gates being interesting to talk to? - and that the guy freaking gave the United Nations $1 billion and probably pushed Citizen Gates to focus more on charity. He's obnoxious, opinionated, and he fucked Jane Fonda. What more could you ask from a capitalist?

The fact is that he sold his entire empire, everything he worked to create, and got screwed out of it. When he sold to Time Warner, did he anticipate that AOL would buy the whole damn thing and kick his ass out? Obviously not. The company that AOL-TW has become has no room for someone like Turner, and that's a shame. So while he's not going to be poor anytime soon, I still feel for the guy.
posted by solistrato at 1:57 PM on November 30, 2001

The fact is that he sold his entire empire

That's right, and if he was deadset on keeping control of it, or even of a portion within it, then he should not have sold. He didn't need the money, he was not forced to sell, his holdings were not subject of a hostile takeover. He made the choice freely, now he's whining because that choice came back around to bite him in the butt -- something that he should have been savvy enough to anticipate as a possibiity. If he wasn't, then he might be worthy of sympathy, but it is highly unlikely that one could build such a diverse and highly-valued empire without knowing better.
posted by Dreama at 3:14 PM on November 30, 2001

I think Ted just has a dark, bitter, twisted sense of humor and irony. He got the short end of this particular stick, but it's not like they're throwing him out to the wolves. They're just kicking him out on his ass. However, the cameras were there and the podium was there, and he wanted to walk out redirecting blame to the people he sold it to, when the world knows he just did this to himself. Saving face, I think they call it. Ted's just a little proud.

It's good to know that even someone like Ted Turner is not immune to "downsizing" and "corporate restructuring." Wasn't Bill Gates sorta coerced to demote himself from CEO to whatever it is he's doing now? it's the nature of the beast these guys helped to create. It warms the heart to see a little karma runnin' over their dogmas.

Ted Turner also likes hearing himself talk. Come to think of it, I bet I'd like the guy.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:15 PM on November 30, 2001

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