Master of the Game: Steve Ross and the Creation of Time Warner
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In a career that began in Brooklyn and spanned Wall Street, Hollywood, and the Mafia, Ross built his father-in-law's funeral business and a parking lot company into Time Warner, the largest media and entertainment company in the world. Hard-hitting and compulsive reading, this book takes you into the heart of what made this arrogant yet irresistible man tick.
more fully to being co-CEO, welcomed the idea. It would make Levin the clear number-three person in the organization, a promise that Nicholas had, of course, exacted from Ross at the time of the merger. Since he had been including Levin in all his meetings, Levin would be well prepared; and while Nicholas had long considered Levin weak as an operator (as video chief and, before that, at HBO), those experiences had occurred a number of years before, and Nicholas thought Levin was now better
Perkins told his fellow directors that he had been informed by two company executives that a New York Times reporter, Geraldine Fabrikant, had asked whether Levin was going to be immediately named chairman, in Ross’s place; and that she had also expressed the view that if he were not, it might be read by the Street as an expression of the board’s lack of confidence in Levin. Therefore, Perkins was suggesting that they name Levin chairman. At this, director Ray Troubh fairly shouted, “Steve has
out.’ It’s almost like this overriding desire to please. Over the years I’ve been offered positions at other companies. But there’s been this ever-present ‘how do I explain it to Steve?’ factor.” Whether this persona—caring, constant, generous beyond his beneficiaries’ dreams, an idealized father figure—was one Ross deliberately fashioned, realizing that it would be a winning pose, is not altogether clear. Some colleagues did believe that he was so unsure of himself in his early days in the
do himself, and who would always allow Ross deniability. Ross, in any event, was well aware of Rosen’s way of operating. Shortly before Rosen was to join the Office of the President, Cy O’Neil recalled, Rosen had come to him and said, “ ‘Steve feels it would be helpful if I cleaned up my act.’ We were to try to make sure before he joined the company that there was nothing outstanding that might hurt WCI.” Asked what Ross would have had in mind, O’Neil said, “There may have been transactions that
“seed stock” in a private placement, to raise about $150,000 for an option on the land, near the Tappan Zee Bridge, and for start-up costs. Horwitz agreed, and chose to take an equity participation in the theater rather than a broker’s commission. One of the first people Horwitz approached was Jay Emmett, who agreed to buy $15,000 of stock ($1.50 a share). Emmett and Horwitz had been friends for about fifteen years, having first met back in the mid-fifties, commuting on the train from