After providing financial backing for QVC Network Inc.'s bid for Paramount Communications Inc., bankers were left to speculate Wednesday whether the deal was enhanced or undermined by the merger plans of Tele-Communications Inc. and Bell Atlantic Corp.

One thing was certain: Wednesday's stunning announcement of the planned $33 billion merger of the "baby Bell" and TCI turned the weeks-long Paramount takeover drama into a sideshow, and in the process, swept the banks off center stage.

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