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Viacom Hurt By Blockbuster, Radio Divisions

Merrill Lynch maintained a "buy" rating on Viacom (nyse: VIAb - news - people ) but lowered its third-quarter revenue and earnings estimates, citing weakness at the company's radio and Blockbuster (nyse: BBI - news - people ) divisions.


Merrill Lynch said 85% of the reduction is from radio and Blockbuster, as both divisions were expected to be down for the quarter. For 2004, the research firm lowered its EBITDA by $125 million to $6.49 billion. Merrill Lynch said it is maintaining a "buy" rating "as Viacom's core value does not warrant a downgrade at this point. While share weakness today is anticipated, we also believe the stock price has somewhat anticipated" third-quarter estimate reductions. The research firm maintained a $53 target price.
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