Hint: USA Buys Net

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New York-Barry Diller's USA Networks Inc. is close to creating another cable network with the acquisition of a small company he believes could become the cornerstone for a larger cable offering.

Diller let the cat out of the bag at a conference call with reporters discussing USA's fourth-quarter results. During the call, Diller said USA was close to finalizing a deal with a small cable network.

"We said several months ago that there was a particular thing we were doing, and we've kind of done it," Diller said during the conference call. "It's a third-party-related approval. It's not a huge acquisition. We think it's a huge area for us to program."

Later, Diller said the acquisition-which he declined to name-could be announced in time for a second-quarter conference call, and it would be a building block for a new USA cable network. "The rollout of that would be over the latter part of the year," he added.

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