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DreamWorks unit helps Viacom triple its profit

March 02, 2007|From the Associated Press

MTV owner Viacom Inc.'s profit more than tripled in the fourth quarter after the addition of the DreamWorks studio last year, which swung its movie business to a profit.

Viacom, which also owns BET, VH1 and several other cable television channels, said it earned $480.8 million, or 69 cents a share, compared with $129.5 million, or 17 cents, a year earlier.

On a comparable basis, Viacom's operating income increased 28% to $855.6 million, or 65 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were expecting 58 cents.

The improvement was largely due to its movie business, which earned $86.3 million in the quarter versus a loss in the year-earlier period of $39.6 million.

Viacom's cable networks business, which makes up the lion's share of its operations, reported a 6% gain in profit to $809.9 million.

Overall revenue rose 32% to $3.59 billion with the addition of the DreamWorks studio to Viacom's movie operations, which include the Paramount film studio.

New York-based Viacom said it would take about $70 million in charges in its 2007 fiscal year as it restructures its MTV division. Many of the charges will be for severance costs, with about $50 million being recorded in the first quarter of this year.

Viacom split from CBS Corp. at the beginning of 2006 and became a separate company.

Despite beating analysts' estimates, Viacom's Class B shares fell 47 cents to $38.57.

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