Viacom Inc., the third-largest media company, probably will write down as much as $15 billion of "goodwill" from the purchase of companies including Blockbuster Entertainment and CBS Corp., analysts said.
Under a new U.S. accounting rule that took effect this year, Viacom may reduce the value of its $72 billion in goodwill--the difference between the purchase price of an asset and its book value--as soon as the first quarter. AOL Time Warner said last month it would take a goodwill-related expense of as much as $60 billion in the first quarter.
Viacom may write down goodwill from its $8-billion purchase of Blockbuster in 1994 and its $50-billion acquisition of CBS two years ago, analysts said. Under the new rules, Viacom no longer must write down, or amortize, a part of goodwill every quarter. The change will increase the firm's reported profit.