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Viacom Directors Approve Split Up of Company

Sumner Redstone's Daughter Named Board's Non-Executive Vice Chairman

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NEW YORK ( -- Viacom has officially approved its much-discussed split, announcing at a board of directors meeting today that its cable and broadcast assets will become two separate, publicly traded companies.

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Additionally, Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone's daughter, Shari Redstone, was named non-executive vice-chairman of the board, a newly created position. Previously Ms. Redstone headed Viacom's National Amusements chain of movie theaters.

BET, MTV, Paramount
Viacom will house the cable assets BET and MTV Networks, which includes MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and Spike TV, among others, as well as Paramount Pictures, Paramount Home Entertainment and Famous Music. Tom Freston will lead the company.

CBS Corp.
Meanwhile, CBS Corp. will include broadcast TV networks CBS and UPN, radio company Infinity Broadcasting, Viacom Outdoor and the Paramount and King World TV studios. Showtime, publisher Simon & Schuster and Paramount Parks will also be part of CBS Corp., which Leslie Moonves will helm.

Messrs. Moonves and Freston are currently Viacom co-presidents.

Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone, who will remain CEO and the controlling shareholder of both companies, first announced talks of a split in March as a plan to unlock the value of the company's faster-growing cable assets. Current Viacom shareholders will hold stakes in both companies after the split, which will be overseen by a special board committee.

New-media markets
Mr. Redstone confirmed the new Viacom will be focused on expansion and acquisitions and reiterated his desire to move into the new-media market: "We anticipate that this company's stock will attract a higher trading multiple that can, in turn, be used for targeted acquisitions in promising areas. With the increased importance of wireless, online and video gaming businesses, the ability of the new Viacom to be opportunistic will be a distinct and powerful advantage."

He indicated CBS Corp.'s strength lies in its ability to offer dividend payments and stock repurchases.

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