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May 1, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Viacom, which does not own a broadcast network in the U.S. since its split with CBS in 2006, will now have one in the U.K. The company today (Thursday) confirmed that it will pay $760 million to buy the re-energized Channel 5 network from Richard Desmond. The British trade publication Screen Daily said that the deal will make Viacom “a major player in the [U.K.] free-to-air TV market.” In a statement, Viacom President Philippe Dauman pledged a dramatic increase in Viacom spending for U.K. content. “We look forward to partnering with local producers to introduce more UK-created content to global audiences, and will continue to explore opportunities in the UK, both in the free-to-air and pay television markets.” Currently Viacom operates British versions of some of its more popular cable networks, including Comedy Central, MTV, and Nickelodeon. Channel 5 had previously struggled under previous owner, Germany’s RTL, and had posted a loss of more than 55 million in 2009. Meanwhile, Viacom today released first-quarter results showing a 4-percent boost in profit over the comparable quarter a year ago. Most of its cable channels were up, with the company’s TV division up 6 percent. However, ticket sales a Paramount were sharply down 17 percent.