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LEGISLATION ON CAPITOL HILL PUTS A VIACOM DEAL IN JEOPARDY
Published February 9, 1995
The House Ways and Means Committee approved a bill that would "repeal a tax break for minority owned media companies." The act could jeopardize Viacom Inc.'s plans to sell its cable TV systems for $2.3B "while avoiding hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes." Viacom wants to sell its systems to a Sacramento- based company Mitgo, owned by black entrepreneur Frank Washington. Viacom officials said the deal "could not be preserved unless the tax deal was preserved." Viacom is "anxious to exit" the cable business because the sale would help reduce debt acquired when it bought Paramount last year (Edmund Andrews, N.Y. TIMES, 2/9). A cancellation of the deal would "delay indefinitely a sweeping agreement now pending" between Viacom and TCI (Calmes & Robichaux, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/9).