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As Richard and George Rebh recall four years later, the exchange then turned ugly. Carlucci declines a request for an interview, according to a News Corp. spokesman, who says the company has no comment. But the Rebhs say the conversation went something like this:
"So you're not here to sell your business?" Carlucci asked.
"No," Rebh replied.
"Congratulations, guys, on what you developed," Rebh recalls Carlucci saying, "but I have one problem: I work for a guy who has to have it all. And I kind of like floor advertising. So eat up, boys." Then came the kicker. "Carlucci said, 'I want to tell you one more thing. If you ever go into my business, I will destroy you."
Rebh's brother leaned over the table. As Rebh tells it, "George asked, 'Paul, let me see if I've got this right? It's okay for you to come into our business. That's fine. But if we ever go into your business, you're going to destroy us.' And Paul said, 'That's right."
Stunned by what they perceived as a bald threat coming from one of the world's most powerful companies, Rebh and the two other Floorgraphics executives quickly left the restaurant.
They had a sinking feeling that they had just blown their best chance to avert Murdoch's juggernaut... read more