Seagram Co. has reached final agreement to buy Viacom's 50% interest in USA Networks for $1.7 billion in cash, settling lawsuits between the two joint owners of USA Network and the Sci-Fi Channel. The deal, still subject to regulatory approval, is scheduled to close before year's end. The settlement includes Viacom's commitment not to launch a competitor to the Sci-Fi Channel and Seagram's commitment to buy programming from Viacom. Despite owning all of USA Network and the Sci-Fi Channel, Seagram is expected to hold off using the cable networks as media platforms for liquor product advertising. Seagram has been attempting to place ads for its liquor products on TV stations and networks.
Copyright September 1997, Crain Communications Inc.