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HSN shareholders approve $2.1B sale to QVC's parent

HSN shareholders today approved the sale of the St. Petersburg company to the parent company of its largest competitor, QVC Group.  [File photo courtesy of HSN]
HSN shareholders today approved the sale of the St. Petersburg company to the parent company of its largest competitor, QVC Group. [File photo courtesy of HSN]
Published Dec. 29, 2017

ST. PETERSBURG — In a roughly 10-minute meeting, HSN shareholders made it official: the shopping giant and its rival QVC are now under one umbrella. Shareholders on Friday approved the sale of the iconic home shopping company to QVC's parent company, Liberty Interactive Corp., for $2.1 billion.

"The combination will enhance QVC's position as the leading global video ecommerce retailer," said Greg Maffei, Liberty Interactive CEO, in a release.

Colo.-based Liberty Interactive originally announced the deal in July. At the time, Liberty already owned a 38 percent stake in St. Petersburg-headquartered HSN. Liberty Interactive doled out 53.6 million shares of QVC stock to HSN shareholders.

The merger means big changes are in store for HSN, which was the seventh-largest publicly traded company by market value in Tampa Bay.

Some aspects of the companies will stay the same: HSN's headquarters, which sit on about 60 acres in St. Petersburg, will remain in town. And the two shopping brands will continue to exist separately, both pursuing digital strategies.

Others aspects will receive a jolt, namely HSN's leadership and structure. Even before the acquisition was finalized, Liberty Interactive had already detailed a restructuring of HSN that included the exit of HSN's top three executives in St. Petersburg. HSN's longtime CEO, Mindy Grossman, left the company earlier this year to run Weight Watchers International.

BACK STORY: HSN acquired by rival retail giant QVC for $2.1 billion

HSN's new leadership will come from its new parent company. Mike George, QVC CEO, will oversee HSN operations, and HSN's board of directors will be dissolved. Fiona Dias, previously a board member for HSN, is moving over to Liberty Interactive's board.

There will also be a greater focus on digital. The two brands have been forced to pivot marketing strategies in recent years as television viewership plummets.

HSN is the latest addition to the list of public companies Tampa Bay has lost in recent years. Walter Investment Management and USAmeriBank, for example, have both relocated their headquarters this past year.

Walter Investment Management moved from Tampa to Pennsylvania in May, saying a large portion of its executive leadership was based there. USAmeriBank was acquired by Valley National Bancorp in New Jersey for $816 million this summer, moving its headquarters from Clearwater.

Contact Malena Carollo at mcarollo@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2249. Follow @malenacarollo.