July 1-15, 2005 Edition

Viacom to Buy

Burgeoning Kids

Web Site, Neopets

NEW YORK, NY/06/21/05—Viacom will acquire closely-held children’s website Neopets for an estimated $160 million. The rapidly-growing site has about 25 million members and will help Viacom increase the online presence of its companies.

The move follows Viacom’s recent announcement that it would split the company in two and sell off its Famous Players movie theatre chain. Under the split, CBS and Infinity radio divisions will comprise one company, and MTV Networks and Paramount will comprise another. Neopets will become part of the MTV Networks side of the business, consistent with Chairman Sumner Redstone’s plan to grow the MTV side.

Viacom last week approved a plan that would see the company split into a value company comprising its CBS and Infinity radio units and a growth company made up of MTV Networks and Paramount. Neopets would fit with Chairman Sumner Redstone’s stated desire to grow the MTV Networks side of the Viacom business. Viacom also owns Simon & Schuster, its publishing division.

Neopets® began from an idea Adam Powell had in 1997. The site was launched on November 15th 1999 by Adam and Donna Williams, both of whom are British. The site contains stories, games, contests, trading, and more.