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VIACOM AND MCA NEAR DEAL ON USA NETWORK
Published October 22, 1996
Viacom, Inc. and MCA Inc. have reached a preliminary settlement to a legal dispute that would result in Viacom paying $1.45B "to take full control of the USA Network cable channel that it owns in a 50-50 partnership with MCA," according to Sallie Hofmeister of the L.A. TIMES. If the deal is finalized, Viacom would become the "largest supplier of basic cable programming in the country, while MCA would have a small base in cable along with enough cash to launch other channels" (L.A. TIMES, 10/22). The USA Network reaches 65 million homes and "should have a cash flow" of about $165M in '96. By combining its sales forces with Viacom's MTV and Nickelodeon nets, it could increase cash flow to around $215M, according to Paine Webber media analyst Christopher Dixon (Geraldine Fabrikant, N.Y. TIMES, 10/22). Viacom will "immediately go to work sharpening USA's image." USA recently signed an TV extension with the U.S. Open (Eben Shapiro, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/22).