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VIACOM MAY RECEIVE LARGE TAX BREAK IN CABLE DEAL
Published January 4, 1995
As reported yesterday, Viacom Inc. plans to sell its cable TV systems for more than $2B to a minority-controlled enterprise. As part of the sale, Viacom would receive a federal tax break of as much as $400M. Viacom is finalizing the details of the sale to a partnership headed by African-American exec Frank Washington in "what would be the largest-ever purchase of corporate assets by a minority." Viacom would then qualify for the tax break under a program designed to expand ownership of broadcast outlets by minorities. The program was actually "conceived" by Washington while an official in the Carter Administration. Other partners in the deal are "several giant corporate investors, including TCI. The program "permits companies to defer paying capital gains taxes for two years if they sell a media property to a black, Hispanic, Asian American or Native American buyer." Viacom is expected to announce the deal next week (Paul Farhi, WASHINGTON POST, 1/4).