WWF buys WCW

World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. struck a deal Friday to buy the arch-rival World Championship Wrestling brand from Turner Broadcasting System just as TBS was poised to pull the plug on it.

Terms of the eleventh-hour deal - widely seen as the last chance for the WCW to avoid extinction - were not disclosed. After $60 million in losses last year and a $48 million bid from Fusient Media Ventures fallen through, TBS appeared resolved to let the WCW become another footnote in the TV sports/entertainment biz. Fusient folded its bid this week after failing to draw Fox in as a TV partner.

As part of its deal with Viacom, new WCW programming is anticipated to air on TNN in the near future. In fact, the WWF said Friday cross-brand story lines may start as early as Monday night during WWF Raw Is War on TNN and the final performance of WCW Monday Nitro Live on Turner Network Television (TNT).

The deal gives WWF Entertainment global rights to the WCW brand, tape library, and other intellectual property rights. Just as importantly, it gives WWF thd WCW personalities to interplay with their own. Linda McMahon, Chief Executive Officer of World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, called the deal "the perfect creative and business catalyst for our company." - Richard Tedesco