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Viacom Announces Q3 Loss,

Oct 31, 2004  •  Post A Comment

$8 Billion Stock Buyback Plan

Viacom last week reported a third-quarter loss of $487.6 million, compared with a year-earlier profit of $699.6 million. The quarter included a charge of $1.5 billion related to Viacom’s unloading its 80 percent-plus stake in Blockbuster. Revenue rose 4 percent to $5.5 billion, driven by revenue gains at Viacom’s broadcast and cable networks. The results came as the company announced a plan to buy back $8 billion worth of stock, which one analyst predicted could reduce Viacom’s shares outstanding by 13 percent.

News Corp. Shareholders OK Plan to Reincorporate in United States

News Corp. last week moved one step closer to becoming a United States-based company when shareholders overwhelmingly voted to reincorporate the Australian-based company in the United States. The reincorporation measure won more than 91 percent of the shareholder vote, far exceeding the required 75 percent majority needed for shareholder approval of the relocation from Adelaide, Australia, to Delaware. To secure the support of several large institutional investors in Australia, News Corp. was forced to make adjustments to its constitution to strengthen corporate governance and give shareholders more of a voice in matters concerning the company.

DreamWorks Animation Shares Trade Higher Than Expected

DreamWorks Animation SKG last week began trading as a public company, with its shares immediately soaring more than 30 percent after an initial public offering that far exceeded price talk on the eve of the deal. The animation unit, responsible for the hit “Shrek” franchise as well as the NBC series “Father of the Pride,” had said it would price its shares between $23 and $25, but ended up offering the 27 percent stake, or 29 million shares, of DreamWorks Animation at $28 a share.

MGM’s Overall Results Improve as Revenues Rise at Television Unit

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the studio that recently agreed to be acquired by an investment team led by Sony Corp., reported a narrowed third-quarter loss last week of $26.7 million, compared with a year-earlier loss of $32.6 million. Revenue fell 12 percent to $401.3 million, hurt by a decline in feature-film revenue. However, the company’s television operation reported an 11 percent rise in revenue to $69.5 million. n

-JAY SHERMAN