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March 27, 2000 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: More on WWF leaving USA Network, Beyond the Mat controversy, more

One of the two remaining roadblocks to the WWF/CBS deal was removed this past week when Chris-Craft Industries, Inc. agreed to sell its half of UPN to Viacom for $5 million.

Chris-Craft had sought to block a clause in its dual ownership contract of UPN with Viacom, which gave either side the right to order the other to either sell its half or buy out the other company's half. Viacom had, through that clause, ordered Chris-Craft to make a decision by 3/20. Chris-Craft went to court this week to try and get the buy-sell decision eliminated claiming Viacom had already violated the contract because there was a clause about not buying into a competing network and Viacom had negotiated and is expected to buy CBS. Viacom's defense was that it hadn't purchased CBS officially yet, thus hadn't violated the clause.

The New York Supreme Court ruled against Chris-Craft, giving the company until Monday to either buy out Viacom for $5 million, or sell for the same amount. While $5 million is a tiny amount of 50% of a television network, the real problem is UPN, even in its current state where WWF has saved the network from probable extinction, is a huge money pit and Chris-Craft, which had already lost $400 million (total network losses are $800 million) in funding the network over its first five years, didn't want to handle the future losses on its own.

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