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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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RCA was beginning to think that they'd like to own a publishing business and were beginning to investigate various houses. Without our knowing it, they were investigating us. We didn't realize that they were going over our published figures very carefully and questioning people...you know, the way big companies do. They were impressed with us, as damn well they should have been. We were a good company. So we started talking. I had met Gen. Sarnoff, who is a remarkable man. After very little talk, they made us an offer, which we refused out of hand. Their first offer was half a share of RCA for each share of Random House, and that wasn't enough for us, I thought. So after some more dickering--this was late in December, 1965-- they raised the offer to three-fifths of a share of RCA for one of Random House, which was a considerable increase. It was sixty per cent instead of fifty per cent. Several of the people at Random House were for taking this, but I had made up my mind that we were going to get the equivalent of forty million dollars for our business. This was quite a jump from our old private plan for getting half of it for five hundred thousand! How quickly you change your sights! To give us what I wanted, at what RCA was selling for then, it meant sixty-two one-hundredths of a share instead of sixty one-hundredths--a difference of two one-hundredths of a share. That may sound like nothing to you, but it amounted to over a million dollars in all. The bankers were very angry with me. They said that I was destroying the deal. I was in the glorious position of not giving a damn whether they bought us or not. We didn't need them. I

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