AOL Poised to Sell 50% Comedy Central Stake to Viacom

22 April 2003

The fifty percent stake in cable network Comedy Central held by AOL Time Warner could well be in the hands of the network’s co-owner Viacom by the end of this week.

It emerged over the holiday weekend that talks between the two partners have reached an advanced stage and may be successfully concluded as early as Wednesday. According to insiders $1.2 billion (€0.98bn; £0.76bn) is on the table – which sum would significantly reduce AOL’s debt Everest, currently $26 billion.

Neither company was prepared to comment on the deal, both observing the customary practice of lip-zipping ahead of releasing their latest financials. Viacom’s Q1 numbers are due out Wednesday; AOL TW will report its earnings the same day.

AOL has also hung ‘for sale’ signs over its book publishing unit, Warner Music CD manufacturing operations, and Atlanta sports teams.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff