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Viacom Forges European Alliance

Tue., April 9, 1996

In his first big move since assuming daily control of Viacom Inc., chairman Sumner Redstone has moved into Europe with a deal that will bring his media company up to $2 billion over 10 years.

Viacom on Monday announced an alliance with powerful German broadcaster KirchGroup to televise entertainment from the likes of Viacom’s MTV and Paramount TV and movie studio.

While Viacom has individual licensing deals throughout Europe, its new alliance with Kirch is its first to funnel all of Paramount’s programming into a European country.

The deal also comes three months after the ouster of chief executive Frank Biondi. Redstone, a 72-year-old multibillionaire who controls Viacom’s voting stock, has said he wants to bring a more entrepreneurial style to the company.

Viacom’s alliance with Kirch provides the U.S. entertainment conglomerate a new way to get its television shows and movies in front of more viewers. The deal with Kirch is to last for five years and can be extended another five.

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