SBD/4/Sports Media

VIACOM MAY RECEIVE LARGE TAX BREAK IN CABLE DEAL

     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).
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