The giants of the home shopping world are merging. QVC is acquiring HSN (which birthed home shopping as the Home Shopping Network in 1977) in an all-stock transaction valued at more than $2 billion, the Wall Street Journal reports. The longtime rivals are joining forces against a bigger rival: online shopping. Both QVC and HSN have seen declining sales in recent quarters, though together they still have about 23 million active customers. Interestingly, after the merger the combined company will be the third-biggest e-commerce company in North America, following Amazon and Walmart. (QVC bought online retailer Zulily in 2015.) But the company will also operate five cable TV channels in the US.
HSN will remain headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fla. (QVC is in West Chester, Pa.) and operate as an independent brand, per QVC's CEO. The deal is expected to be completed in the last three months of the year. Together, the companies sell 4,200 brands, but HSN is stronger in electronics, fitness, and health (it's known for the Miracle Mop, among other things) while QVC is more successful in fashion and beauty—it helped to launch BareMinerals, among other beauty lines. CNNMoney notes that QVC's parent company, Liberty Interactive Corp., already owns nearly 40% of HSN. Liberty will spin off its cable operations after the merger and rename itself QVC Group. (Read more QVC stories.)