Mel: Viacom to buy back $2 billion


Viacom President Mel Karmazin said yesterday the company would buy back $2 billion worth of its own stock in a buyback program that follows a recent $1 billion buyback.

He also said the company would reduce expenses, capital expenditures and focus on revenue growth to grow the business: "We're pulling all three of those levers." He also said that with CBS's ratings improvement, there is an opportunity to pick up market share in the current upfront.

He said CBS currently has 28% of the three-network pie. He remains pessimistic about averting a writers strike.

And Karmazin says that CBS is prepared to swap or otherwise dispose of TV stations to get under the 35% ownership cap by May 4 if the court does not grant it a stay. - Steve McClellan