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Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Viacom Acquires Game Company Xfire

Viacom Inc. announced on Monday the purchase of online games technology company, Xfire for $102 million in an attempt to dominate the youth market on the internet as it has on television.

Viacom, owner of MTV Networks, Nickelodeon and the Paramount movie studios, said Xfire has 4 million registered members who use its instant messaging and social networking technologies to accompany their online games.

"It's a wonderful component of our overall digital strategy, particularly on the gaming front," Viacom Chief Executive Tom Freston told Reuters. "Our key audiences are and probably will remain kids, teens, young adults -- we want to be anywhere these audiences are."

Freston said Viacom continues to look at other Internet properties as potential acquisitions, mostly deals valued well under $1 billion, and said further purchases were possible this year. At the same time, he said, Viacom is investing in building up entertainment channels it already owns into new formats for its audience.

Social networking and online gaming sites are two of the hottest investment areas for top U.S. media companies as they try to hold on to younger consumers dividing their time between the Internet and traditional outlets like television.

MTV last year acquired, a site that allows users to invent and care for virtual pets. Rival News Corp. purchased social networking site as well as gaming company IGN Entertainment.

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