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VIACOM MIGHT HAVE SIGHTS
SET ON BET
Purchase Would Add Another Jewel To Company’s Cable Crown
Viacom has held talks to acquire BET Holdings for roughly $3 billion, people familiar with the situation told the Wall Street Journal.

Separately, Viacom said it would increase by 5% the amount of Viacom stock it previously offered to Infinity Broadcasting holders to acquire the 35.7% of Infinity that it doesn't already own.

Spokesmen for Viacom and closely held BET declined to comment.

The Wall Street Journal cautioned that while people familiar with the purchase talks took place within the last several weeks, a deal may not come to fruition.

A purchase of BET, which owns the Black Entertainment Television cable TV channel, would significantly expand Viacom's already sizable collection of cable networks, which include the MTV and VH1 music-video channels. Viacom recently added a country-music channel with its acquisition of CBS, but doesn't currently have a cable service aimed at African Americans.

BET is 63%-owned by Robert Johnson, its founder and chairman, 35%-owned by Liberty Media Group and 2%-owned by Debra Lee, the company's president and chief operating officer.

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