Viacom

(VIA) - Get Report

reported lower fourth-quarter earnings Wednesday because of the cost of acquiring the

CBS

television network, but exceeded analysts' expectations, as revenue grew 78% thanks to strong showings by its cable and television units.

The media heavyweight said earnings for the quarter, excluding amortization costs, were $76 million, or 5 cents a share, compared with $133.1 million, or 19 cents a share, in the same period last year. Analysts on average polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

expected earnings of 3 cents a share.

Revenue for the quarter rose to $6.36 billion, up from $3.57 billion. On a pro forma basis, revenue rose 5% from $6.04 billion last year.

The company's pro forma after-tax cash flow, which excludes depreciation, amortization and one-time charges, totaled $852 million, or 57 cents a share, up from $600 million, or 40 cents a share, a year earlier. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, was $1.36 billion, compared with $595 million in last year's fourth quarter. Pro forma EBITDA rose 17%.

The media and entertainment company also said it expects 2001 EBITDA to grow 20% to $6.2 billion, but warned that first-quarter growth would be modest compared with a year earlier. The company expects growth to accelerate through the rest of the year, with double-digit growth in the second half.

Viacom unit

Infinity Broadcasting

(INF) - Get Report

also reported

earnings Wednesday. On Tuesday, Viacom subsidiary

Blockbuster

(BBI) - Get Report

posted fourth-quarter earnings that

topped Wall Street's expectations.

Shares of Viacom, which announced a $2 billion

stock repurchase program on Feb. 1, recently lost $1.94, or 3.6%, to $51.77 in trading on the

New York Stock Exchange

.

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