Viacom Goes British as Profits Rock

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Viacom  (VIAB) reported higher second-quarter profits and announced plans to expand into British broadcasting in dual statements Thursday. The media company, owner of MTV and Comedy Central, said it intends to purchase Channel 5 Broadcasting from Northern & Shell Media Group for 450 million British pounds (around $757 million).

"The acquisition of Channel 5 accelerates Viacom's strategy in the UK, one of the world's most important and valuable media markets," said Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman in the release.

The broadcasting station currently produces programming such as Big Brother and is viewed by more than 80% of the U.K. population each month. The acquisition is expected to immediately add to earnings.

Viacom shares were slipping 0.1% in pre-market trading to $84.90.

Separately, the company announced second-quarter adjusted net income of $1.08 a share, a 13% year-over-year increase, driven by strength in its media networks segment. 

"Our Media Networks remain in high demand, commanding a premium position with advertisers and achieving significant continued growth with both traditional and emerging distribution partners," said CEO Philippe Dauman in the release. 

Strength in the segment offset weakness in its filmed entertainment division, a unit which holds production company Paramount Pictures. While revenue in media networks climbed 6% to $2.38 billion, filmed entertainment revenue slumped 12% to $831 million. 

Overall revenue climbed 1% to $3.17 billion. 

Analysts expected net income of $1.05 a share and revenue of $3.2 billion, according to Thomson Reuters surveys. 

Before the bell, shares edged 0.09% lower to $84.90. 

--Written by Keris Alison Lahiff in New York. 

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