FCC Likely To Approve CBS Merger, Says Viacom

By Christian
April 4, 2000 - 9:44 PM

Reuters' Steve James has written a long article about the Variety/Schroders 'Big Picture' media conference, which featured appearances by Viacom CEO Summer Redstone and CBS CEO Mel Karmazin at a business forum. At the event, Redstone said that the Federal Communications Commissions has hinted strongly it will approve the merger between Viacom and CBS, lifting some of the restrictions placed on media companies.

One of these rules prevents one company from owning two networks, and it was this rule which long seemed a problem for the merger, as Viacom now also has full ownership of UPN. However, Redstone said that they "have a pretty clear signal [they] will be able to keep UPN."

The event was held just a day after Viacom formally completed its $5 million purchase of the remaining 50% of UPN, which were previously owned by Chris-Craft Industries. At the moment, UPN is still reported to be losing $180 million a year, but Redstone appeared confident the new Viacom-CBS could change that. "With Mel there, he'll turn it around tomorrow. A year from now we are not going to be losing money."

The full article has some more info on the merger, which is now rapidly nearing its completion, and also includes a few comments from Redstone and Karmazin about the friction there was rumoured to be between them.

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