ATLANTA -- The suspension of talks between Turner Broadcasting System Inc. and the NBC television network renews the question of how Turner will refinance its $1.4 billion debt.
NBC had expressed interest in buying up to 25 percent of TBS, which owns Cable News Network, CNN Headline News and SuperStation TBS.
One analyst said the talks may resume. "I wouldn't be at all surprised if they reach a meeting of the minds in the second half of the year," said Richard Bilotti, a bond analyst with L.F. Rothschild Inc.
But others said the cable operators who recently bought a 37 percent stake in the Atlanta-based company may provide additional funds.
"They are the most logical players to step in with more money now," said Sharon Arbrust, an analyst with Paul Kagan Associates Inc. "Additional equity has to come from somewhere."
NBC and TBS announced Friday they had broken off negotiations.
Last June, 18 cable companies bought a $560 million stake in TBS, receiving seven seats on the 15-member board in return. Founder and Chairman Ted Turner holds 51 percent of the company's voting shares.
The NBC deal could have brought much-needed cash to TBS, which is carrying $1.4 billion in debt.
If TBS doesn't make $38 million in dividend payments to its cable investors by April 30, the cable group will receive another two seats on the board six months later, giving them a majority of seats.