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Universal Studios faces merger with Malone's cable networks ahead of possible IPO

John Malone's Liberty Media has reportedly begun exploratory talks with Vivendi Universal with a view to merging some of his cable TV interests with the US entertainment businesses of the beleagured French conglomerate. The combined operation, which would bring Universal Studios, Focus Films and USA Networks under the same roof as the Starz/Encore pay-TV group and the Discovery Channel, would then be spun off in a public float.

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