UNIVERSAL BUYS OUT VIACOM'S STAKE IN USA NETWORK FOR $1.7B
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).