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Media holding company Seagram Co Ltd has settled a one year legal dispute with its cable TV partner Viacom Inc, and has paid $1.7bn in cash for Viacom’s 50% stake in their joint venture USA Networks, reports the Herald Tribune. The partnership runs two highly profitable US cable channels, USA Network and the Sci-Fi Channel, and the sale was forced, after a Delaware court ruled in favor of Seagram. The lawsuit was over a conflict in the terms of the two companies partnership caused by Viacom’s ownership of MTV, Nickelodeon, and other TV channels. Viacom is using the cash to reduce its $10bn debt, and is planning to focus on its troubled Blockbuster video rental unit. Seagram will be using the extra control over the channels to boost revenues of its entertainment division MCA Inc, which owns the film company Universal Pictures.

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