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CBS Sells Stake In Cable Venture

CBS on Tuesday sold its remaining 50 percent stake in the CBS Eye On People cable network to Discovery Communications, which bought the other half in July.

The companies said the cash deal was effective immediately but didn't disclose other terms. The new network, which will premier Jan. 11, will be called Discovery People and will be managed out of Discovery's offices in Bethesda, Md.

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"We've decided to sell our entire stake in the channel and realize a financial gain," CBS Cable President Donald Mitzner said in a statement. "We believe this provides us with a good reward for starting the channel as well as gives Eye On People the focus and resources of a single owner."

Eye on People, available to 11 million cable and satellite subscribers, had been losing about $20 million a year for CBS prior to the joint venture, according to Goldman Sachs analyst Richard Rosenstein.

Jonathan Rodgers, president of Discovery Networks U.S., said the idea of co-managing was scrapped after five months of negotiations. "Given the realities of the dynamic, ever-evolving cable programming marketplace, we did not think it made sense" to continue the joint venture, he said.

Discovery plans to continue Eye on People's "reality-based" programming focus, which centered on documentaries and interviews with celebrities and other personalities.

CBS Cable is a unit of CBS Corp (CBS)., which also holds a 50-percent interest in Discovery is owned by John Hendricks, the company's founder, chairman and chief executive; Liberty Media (LBTYA); Cox Communications (COX) and privately-held Advance/Newhouse Communications.

Written By David B. Wilkerson

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