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QVC Is Acquiring Longtime Rival HSN

Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/Getty Images

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TV home shopping operations QVC today announced it is acquiring competitor HSN. Liberty Interactive, QVC’s parent company, which already owns 38.2 percent of HSN, will buy full ownership of the company by the end of the year.

“The addition of HSN will enhance QVC’s position as the leading global video e-commerce retailer,” Liberty president and CEO Greg Maffei wrote in a statement, explaining that together the networks “produce over 55,000 hours of shoppable video content” each year.

That the competitors are merging after going after the same customer for more than 20 years can be seen as an attempt to steel themselves against Amazon’s increasing dominance. Both QVC and HSN have large online customer bases; last year, more than half of HSN’s $2.5 billion in sales came from its website. QVC, a global network with $8.6 billion worth of sales in 2016, has also been heralded as a force in online shopping, thanks in part to its acquisition of flash sale site Zulily in 2015. With the new deal, QVC CEO Mike George told CNBC earlier today, the duo will become the third largest e-commerce site, behind Amazon and Wal-Mart.

QVC Group, which will be the parent company’s new name, will certainly be a powerful force. HSN is currently in 96 million American homes, and QVC 85 million (and 360 million total around the globe). The companies have proven they can reach an older customer demographic, and while classic American retailers like J.C. Penney and Sears slowly fade away, it looks like home shopping networks will be here to stay.