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UNIVERSAL BUYS OUT VIACOM'S STAKE IN USA NETWORK FOR $1.7B
Published September 23, 1997
Viacom Inc. has agreed to sell its 50% stake in USA Networks to partner Seagram Co.'s Universal Studios for $1.7B, according to Eben Shapiro of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The deal gives Universal "complete control" of cable networks USA and the Sci-Fi Channel. Seagram Vice Chair Robert Matschullat: "USA is not the endgame. We could buy another cable network to go with this. We have the ability to do more." Universal Studios Chair & CEO Frank Biondi Jr. said USA's schedule, which includes sports coverage such as the U.S. Tennis Open, requires only "fine-tuning. You won't see massive programming changes" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/23). The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Andrew Collier reports that Universal "expects to retain current management," including USA Chair & CEO Kay Koplovitz (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 9/23).